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Bilfinger and Rock Tech Lithium sign letter of intent to cooperate on Europe’s first lithium refinery

By Gerald Ondrey |

Industrial services provider Bilfinger SE (Mannheim, Germany) and clean-tech company Rock Tech Lithium Inc. (Vancouver, B.C., Canada) have signed a letter of intent for an EPCM (engineering, procurement, construction and management) partnership. The agreement relates to the construction of Europe’s first lithium hydroxide converter. The production plant for battery-grade lithium hydroxide will be built in Guben, Brandenburg, Germany. Once completed, it will produce 24,000 metric tons of lithium hydroxide annually for the batteries of 500,000 electric cars. Rock Tech’s project is currently at an advanced planning stage. Bilfinger is providing engineering services and, in the event of realization, will primarily be responsible for further procurement services as well as construction management.

Christina Johansson, interim CEO and CFO of Bilfinger says: “The production of lithium hydroxide as a component of electric car batteries is essential for a transition to environmentally friendly transport. The concept developed by Rock Tech Lithium for the construction of the lithium refining plant is innovative and technologically convincing. We look forward to helping shape the next steps in implementing the project using our decades of experience in planning and construction management of industrial plants.”

Markus Brügmann, CEO of Rock Tech Lithium, says: “With Bilfinger, we have found an excellent industrial partner with significant experience in the construction of complex industrial plants – a partner that can implement our project with the highest level of competence. The cooperation is another significant milestone for Rock Tech Lithium on its way to becoming a leading clean-tech company supplying the automotive industry with high-purity lithium hydroxide. We want to drive the battery era forward together with Bilfinger.”

Rock Tech Lithium announced the construction of Europe’s first lithium refinery on October 11, 2021 and acquired the necessary site from the city of Guben. Part of the lithium required for production will come from the company’s Hardrock deposit in Georgia Lake, Canada.

Rock Tech Lithium’s goal is to produce lithium hydroxide with the lowest possible environmental impact throughout the value chain. Together with the German Lithium Institute ITEL, the company has developed a zero-waste strategy, which envisages also recycling the by-products of lithium hydroxide production — for example in the gypsum industry. The aim is to also recycle the lithium itself at a later stage.

Bilfinger is a leading international provider of industrial services and has extensive expertise in plant construction. The Group covers the entire value chain – from consulting and manufacturing through to maintenance of industrial plants – and has already successfully implemented several projects in the e-mobility sector, including the construction of a BASF production plant for battery materials in Harjavalta, Finland.

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