Khalifa Industrial Abu Dhabi (KIZAD), a subsidiary of AD Ports Group's Industrial Cities & Free Zone (IC&FZ) cluster, has signed an agreement with Lepidico, a global lithium exploration and development company, to establish the first lithium production facility in the Middle East.
It will cover a land area of 57,000sqm and cost approximately $95 million (AED 348 million) and will utilise a "first of its kind designed to process", the company said.
It will house clean-tech L-Max and LOH-Max process technologies. This will enable it to extract lithium and recover valuable by-products from lithium-mica and phosphate minerals, according to KIZAD.
The vertically integrated Phase 1 Project (P1P) comprises two small scale open-pit mines that will feed a mineral concentrator in Namibia, following which the lepidolite concentrate will be shipped to the facility being developed in KIZAD via Khalifa Port.
Abdullah Al Hameli, head of industrial cities and free zone cluster, AD Ports Group, said Lepidico's process technology aligns with its sustainability principles and long-term sustainability goals.
"We are pleased to host an innovative and environmentally conscious company like Lepidico, which aims to establish the region's first lithium production facility in the Middle East, located in KIZAD," Al Hameli said.
"The project is a critical enabler for developing an electric vehicle supply chain in the Middle East."
Joe Walsh, managing director, Lepidico, described the agreement as "an important milestone" in its goal to develop the first phase of the new chemical plant.
"In our endeavour to develop a sustainable lithium industry, we plan to integrate social, economic, environmental, and health and safety opportunities as part of the project design criteria and strive for a zero-waste process through our innovative and proprietary technologies," Walsh explained.