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Mangrove Lithium CEO Talks Lithium Assets, Refining, & Localization

I just lately talked with Mangrove Lithium CEO and cofounder Dr. Saad Dara about lithium assets, lithium refining, and localization of the EV battery provide chain for an additional episode of CleanTech Discuss.

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In his preliminary PhD work, Dr. Dara was centered on water desalination and remedy for the oil and fuel sector or the mining sector, however then as he and his group appeared into spinning out an organization based mostly on this work, they shortly realized that water remedy was a really troublesome market to interrupt into. In talks with potential purchasers, nevertheless, somebody requested them if they might convert their lithium chloride into lithium hydroxide. And that was primarily the beginning of what would turn out to be Mangrove Lithium and its lithium refining and processing enterprise. There’s extra about Dr. Dara and the founding group within the podcast, however let’s bounce to the worldwide lithium market and his tackle the truth that, presently, the overwhelming majority of lithium refining takes place in China. Right here’s his abstract of the state of affairs and the place we’re headed:

“I believe 70% of the world’s lithium is Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, and Australia — one thing like that,” he famous, “however while you discuss downstream chemical refining onwards within the lithium provide chain, I believe over 80% of that exists in China — for good causes. They’ve an enormous market, they’ve an enormous quantity of demand. The remainder of the world’s just a little bit behind on that demand.” Certainly — greater than 50% of the world’s EV gross sales are in China. “However they’ve actually been in a position to dominate the market […] they’re doing numerous the downstream lithium provide chain — from chemical course of refining, anode/cathode manufacturing, finish use — and North America and Europe try to atone for that, however that’s the place the trade is true now.

“So, there’s been numerous discuss doubtlessly creating native provide chains for EVs, or native provide chains for anode/cathode manufacturing. In our view, if many of the world’s refining is in China, you may carry all of the battery merchandise you need over right here, however your product will nonetheless must go there after which come right here. So, what have you ever actually onshored?”


Mangrove Lithium presently has operations in Vancouver and is working towards constructing their first lithium refining vegetation in the USA. However Dr. Dara then brings up a problem that common CleanTech Discuss listeners or CleanTechnica readers might be acquainted with. “I’ll say this: proper now the bottleneck is that there’s not sufficient lithium being produced on the mine stage. However as increasingly lithium does get produced from the mine stage, refining capability elsewhere might be extra vital, particularly as we glance to be much less depending on the Asian markets.” (Recall that apart from China, huge battery manufacturing corporations and amenities are in South Korea.)

We additionally talked just a little bit in regards to the geopolitical points surrounding this matter, and Dr. Dara famous, amongst different issues, that the Canadian Division of Protection was even contemplating funding mines. Then he added, “From our view, what we actually wish to do in our long-term technique is to say that we’re going to construct refining capability utilizing our core know-how, which is electrochemical, in North America and in Europe — in order that the product that is being shipped, you recognize, to the Asian markets doesn’t essentially must be shipped there, that it might be shipped right here, the place we’re.” That’s definitely what policymakers and residents of those Western nations want to see.

“The opposite side of that’s that we do plan on being built-in at a mine stage in South America or in Australia. And that gives extra choices to the market.” That’s one other logical choice, perhaps an much more environment friendly and logical one from an goal viewpoint.

That principally covers the primary quarter of our dialog. For extra — together with discuss across the worth of lithium, extra vertical integration at automakers, lithium mining, the broader battery provide chain, the place Mangrove Lithium is seeking to function within the USA, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, and extra — hearken to the total podcast. For those who desire Spotify over SoundCloud, right here’s an embedded Spotify participant:





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