New low-carbon lithium mines in France, is it possible?
Imerys, the leader in specialty minerals for the industry, announced earlier last week, through its CEO Alessandro Dazza, the launch of a low-carbon lithium mine project in France: the EMILI project, supported by the French government. The site is expected to start production in 2028 and could eventually provide enough lithium to produce nearly 700,000 electric vehicle batteries per year.
An opportunity that did not fail to catch our attention! Indeed, given the current very strategic context of access to raw materials, this type of project can only be welcomed by ACC...
A solution that echoes Europe's decarbonisation ambitions.
According to the press, EMILI is one of the largest lithium extraction projects in the European Union. Located on the Beauvoir site in Echassières (Allier), the project could contribute to the creation of an integrated European battery industry for electric vehicles, by providing a local solution for one of the most critical materials, lithium.
EMILI intend to contribute to Europe's ambitions for decarbonisation and energy transition, while respecting the environment, workers' rights and local residents.
A golden (or lithium!) opportunity for ACC
Lithium demand is expected to increase tenfold by 2030 in Europe. This is why the European Commission has included this mineral on the list of critical raw materials established in 2020. To date, Europe is totally dependent as regards to lithium for batteries. The project will thus act in favour of French and European sovereignty over a strategic raw material.
Beyond our growing need for lithium to ensure our production volume, and the need to secure our supplies, we attach particular importance to the conditions of extraction of the minerals used in the production of our batteries. Indeed, nearly 80% of our CSR impacts will come from the value chain.
Establishing a sustainable supply chain with suppliers who meet the same environmental, social and governance standards as we do is therefore one of our top priorities. So is ensuring full traceability of the raw materials - particularly the strategic metals - used in our batteries. We have translated these ambitions into our Sustainable Procurement Charter.
We are thus very much in favour of sourcing the lithium needed to make our batteries in Europe, or better still, in France.
For the moment, ACC is not directly involved in this project. But we will make sure that we study in detail its commercial, environmental, technical and economic performance aspects. A meeting with EMILI officials is scheduled in this regard. ACC intends to work with the relevant market players in order to co-construct a project that respects and brings value to the region, our clients and stakeholders, our employees and, more broadly, to Europe.
Let's wish this project a long and successful life!