EV Metals Group, Australia-based clean energy metals company, has revealed its plans to invest $3 billion in Saudi Arabia in a bet on the metals used in batteries for electric vehicles.
The Australian company’s investment will be utilized for building plants to process minerals such as lithium and nickel, later expand into exploring for the battery metals, managing director and chief executive officer Mr. Michael Naylor said. It would be one of the first major deals since Saudi Arabia passed a law to attract investments in mining as it looks to diversify its economy.
“We’re the first mover and we’ve got the know-how, the technology and the technical capabilities to bring to the kingdom to explore for these metals,” Mr. Naylor said. Based on its studies, EV Metals is “optimistic” it will find significant deposits of the materials used for electric car batteries in Saudi Arabia.
Within the next years, the processing facilities will be developed. Further, the company has more than 15 applications for exploration licenses in Saudi Arabia and is looking for deposits of lithium, nickel and cobalt.
EV Metals is building the battery chemicals processing facility to supply a potential automotive manufacturing cluster in the kingdom. The first stage of the project, which was announced last month, will produce 50,000 tons a year of high-purity lithium hydroxide monohydrate, with the plant initially processing feedstock imported from its mine in Western Australia.
Lucid Motors, which is partially owned by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, is looking to build a manufacturing plant in line with the strategy to develop an auto-making hub in the country. The Public Investment Fund (PIF) is also considering starting its own electric carmaker, people familiar with the matter said earlier this year.