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23/06/2024
Mining News

Critical Metals Corp’s Nasdaq entry faces initial volatility

Critical Metals Corp, the company behind Europe’s first fully permitted lithium mine, marked its Nasdaq debut this week following a merger with Sizzle Acquisition Corp, formerly European Lithium. Despite a 120% surge in Sizzle stock during after-hours trading on Tuesday, Critical Metals Corp faced a 38% drop in its Nasdaq debut on Wednesday. However, by midday on Friday, CRLM had rebounded with a more than 10% increase.

European Lithium shareholders still hold a significant stake in the Wolfsberg lithium project in Carinthia, Austria. The project is expected to be the EU’s sole producer of battery-grade lithium by 2027, as per Tony Sage, the executive chairman of Critical Metals. Sage remains optimistic despite the initial market fluctuations and the current low lithium prices.

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Critical Metals has secured supply agreements with BMW and a deal with Obeikan Investment Group to construct a lithium hydroxide plant in Saudi Arabia. The joint venture, a 50/50 collaboration, aims to build, commission, and operate the plant for converting lithium spodumene concentrate.

Sage outlined the strategic plan, mentioning that Wolfsberg will undergo a two-year construction phase. He expects to finalize the Saudi deal by the end of March, emphasizing its significance in the overall strategy. Additionally, Sage expressed interest in rare earths and uranium projects, both brownfield and greenfield, within the EU.

Critical Metals is already involved in the Tanbreez rare earth project in Greenland, holding a 7.5% stake. Tanbreez, majority-owned by Rimbal, boasts a 28.2 million-tonne total rare earth oxide resource, making it the world’s largest rare earth project.

Looking ahead, after the completion of construction at Wolfsberg in 2026, Critical Metals aims to supply BMW by 2027, aligning with projections of increased demand for lithium around that time. Sage noted that the construction of the hydroxide plant may be more cost-effective than initially estimated in the definitive feasibility study conducted in 2023.

Wolfsberg holds perpetual permits as long as work is ongoing, positioning it to be the next producing lithium mine in the EU and the first to produce battery-grade lithium. This comes at a time when lithium-ion batteries play a pivotal role in the electric vehicle revolution, driving the establishment of refinery projects across Europe.

The strategic importance of these developments is heightened by the EU’s initiative to reduce dependence on China for critical raw materials. Despite regulatory challenges faced by other lithium projects, Critical Metals remains optimistic, benefiting from solid support from the Austrian government and its permit in place.

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