Rock Tech Lithium, a company out of Canada, has announced plans to build the largest lithium refining plant in Europe. It seems Tesla's upcoming Giga Berlin is attracting related ventures, which comes as no surprise. Just the transition to EVs in general, as well as the fact that Volkswagen and other German automakers are going up against Tesla, coincides with Rock Tech's efforts.
The new Rock Tech facility will be located in Guben, Brandenburg, which is a mere 37 miles (60 km) away from Tesla's automotive factory near Berlin. which is planned to open soon. According to a report from Teslarati, the plant will produce "battery-grade lithium hydroxide for lithium-ion batteries." This makes Rock Tech's project compelling since it should immediately appeal to Tesla.
This isn't Rock Tech Lithium's first project. In fact, the company is also working on a lithium hydroxide mine in Canada, located in Georgia Lake, Ontario. The company's plans call for a lithium hydroxide converter facility in Lusatia, Brandenburg – located in the Guben region –which will refine the product coming in from Canada.
Reportedly, the plant will create 24,000 metric tons of lithium hydroxide per year, enough output for some 500,000 electric vehicles. Keep in mind, Tesla recently projected that its Berlin Gigafactory will have an initial goal of 500,000 vehicles produced per year, though Elon Musk noted that it may take a year for the factory to hit full capacity.
Rock Tech CEO Dirk Harbecke shared via Teslarati:
“We are becoming the lithium partner of the automotive industry and are building our own, previously non-existent infrastructure for battery-grade lithium hydroxide in Europe. Our goal is to be the first company worldwide to create a close loop for lithium. Guben seems to us to be the ideal location for this, which subsidies also playing a significant role.”
Rock Tech shared in its press release that it will invest as much as €470 million (£400 million) on the German project. However, the facility won't be completed until 2024. The company will need about 160 employees to run the lithium refinery.