Vancouver-based Company Close US$10 Million Funding Deal for Next-Gen Lithium Refinery


The Canadian company, Mangrove Lithium is on track to open a commercial lithium refinery following the successful completion of a US$10 million financing round led by Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures.

Battery-grade lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate are produced by Mangrove using a “feedstock-flexible, modular platform.” With the rapidly expanding battery and electric vehicle (EV) supply chain in North America, Mangrove claims its technology will enable more efficient and comprehensive high-purity lithium production.

Most raw lithium comes from Australia, Chile, and Argentina, and China refines more than 60 percent of the world’s battery-grade lithium. Supply shortages of lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide are expected by 2040, according to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence.

“A sufficient supply of high-purity lithium is critical if the world is going to reach over 70 per cent EV penetration by 2040. There is a strong risk of this ambition being derailed if the emerging supply deficit is not addressed today,” said Saad Dara Mangrove CEO on a press release.

The Canadian government also supports Mangrove’s project.

This refinery plan has more credibility with Breakthrough Energy Ventures as its lead funder. BEV was founded in 2015 by Bill Gates and a group of investors to fund “innovations that will lead the world to net-zero emissions.”

“Transitioning to EVs is a critical step in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. Mangrove’s technology solves a huge constraint in electrifying the world’s vehicle fleet by enabling the lowest-cost, highest-purity lithium hydroxide — at a scale of hundreds of millions of vehicles — and can be applied throughout the supply chain,” according to Breakthrough Energy Ventures on a statement.

Saad Dara, Alfred Lam, David Wilkinson, and Arman Bonakdarpour started working on Mangrove Lithium in 2013 at the University of British Columbia, and the project was completed in 2020.

Supply Chain for Electric Vehicles

Due to a shortage of lithium ion batteries, Mangrove Lithium evolved from Mangrove Water. Mangrove Lithium refines lithium using Mangrove Water’s refining technology. In the same year, BDC Capital’s cleantech practise lent the company $3 million.

“this investment will continue to build on Canadian innovation and secure a stronger position for Canadian firms in the lithium and battery sector.” said BDC’s director of cleantech practice, Vivian Kan.

Mangrove’s technology opens up a new refining market. Each stream of lithium will be gathered and refined at one Mangrove refinery near battery manufacturers. Similar to battery recyclers, the approach makes refining more efficient.

Lithium can be extracted from brines, hard rock, clays, and battery recycling streams, according to the company. The first phase of Mangrove’s operations will focus on lithium brines “that represent 60% of global deposits,” Mangrove say it can recover “greater than 90% of the lithium from lithium concentrates.”

Mangrove has not given any details about the refinery’s location or when it will be operational. However, the company’s materials show four possible locations, ranging from the central and western United States to Europe.

Original source material for this article taken from here

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Written by Olivia Woods

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