European Metals Holdings Limited (ASX & AIM: EMH) has received positive results from a Life Cycle Assessment conducted by Minviro in relation to lithium battery chemicals production from the Cinovec mine in the Czech republic.
We are extremely pleased that the Minviro LCA has confirmed what we have believed to be the case for a long time – Cinovec has the potential to have the lowest overall environmental impacts compared to other conventional lithium battery metals projects not only in Europe but also on a “global basis,” Executive Chairman, Keith Coughlan, said.
With the use of solar power and other optimisations the Cinovec Project will set a standard by which all other conventional lithium producers could be judged. We expect the environmental credentials of the Cinovec Project will help make its product valuable to end users, particularly in light of the new EU requirements in relation to greenhouse emissions.
“Not only does the optimised model demonstrate very low CO2 emissions, the Project also delivers excellent results with regards to acidification and water consumption.
“As Cinovec is an historic underground mine with minimal social and environmental impacts, the entire ESG credentials of the Project are very strong. In addition, we expect to shortly provide a market update covering the additional benefits of a mine backfill study and a revised PFS which updates the project economics and value of the Project.”
CEZ, EMH’s joint venture partner in in the Cinovec Lithium Project, plans to provide 100% renewable energy to power the mine, the Front-End Comminution and Beneficiation (FECAB) And Lithium Chemical Plants (LCP).
CEZ currently owns renewables installations with aggregate power generation capacity of 1720 MW. This capacity will increase by 1500 MW by 2025. The renewable energy sources will be capable of providing all the required power for all aspects of the Cinovec Project including the mine, the FECAB plant as well as the Lithium Chemical Plant under normal operating conditions.
The company is also considering the use of electric mining equipment to further reduce the CO2 footprint at Cinovec.
Life Cycle Assessment
Minviro (a UK-based and globally recognised sustainability and life cycle assessment consultancy) was engaged to conduct a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) for the Cinovec Project’s proposed lithium battery-grade chemicals, Lithium Carbonate (Li2CO3) and Lithium Hydroxide Monohydrate (LiOH).
The LCA was completed at the end of 3Q,21 and the full results underwent independent external QA/QC peer review, including ISO compliance review, before finalisation.
The Minviro work has assessed the LCA for both Li2CO3 and LiOH based upon the PFS studies published by EMH for Li2CO3 and LiOH.
The work included assessments of Global Warming Potential (GWP), Acidification Potential (AP), Water Use and Land Use compared with the most relevant global benchmarks with proven flowsheets for lithium chemicals production (Chilean brine; Australian spodumene; and US sedimentary clay).
Minviro also assessed GWP reduction strategies being advanced by Geomet management (as part of the ongoing Definitive Feasibility Study) to reduce the carbon footprint of Cinovec, including full electrification of the mine and mining vehicle fleet; sourcing all electrical power for both the mine and lithium processing plant from a proposed co-developed photovoltaic cell array adjacent to the Cinovec processing plant; and green hydrogen as replacement for conventional gas in the ore roasting process (Decarbonization Case).
The LCA was conducted according to the requirements of the ISO-14040:2006 and ISO-14044:2006, including a third-party review from LCA experts to ensure that the LCA study is scientifically robust.
LiOH products can have different environmental impacts depending on the natural resource they are produced from and the process technology chosen in flowsheets.
The GWP for the Cinovec PFS case is expected to be around 16.6 kg CO2 eq. per kg LiOH. For LiOH from Chilean brine, the GWP is estimated to be 6.6 kg CO2 eq. per kg LiOH.
For Australian spodumene converted in China the impact is 15.5 kg CO2 eq. per kg LiOH. LiOH produced from Nevada sedimentary clay resources has a GWP that is calculated to be 20.7 kg CO2 eq. per kg LiOH.
The GWP calculated for the Cinovec Decarbonised case which would involve a number of significant modifications to the project as considered in the 2019 PFS could be one of the lowest in the world, estimated to be around 2.9 kg CO2 eq. per kg LiOH.
Transport is minimal for all routes except for the Australian spodumene route, where the spodumene concentrate is transported to China; and the LiOH product from all production routes is transported 400 km from the Port of Rotterdam to provide the GWP impacts as delivered at the same end-users.