Top producer Albemarle risks shutting German plant if EU declares lithium a hazard

Top producer Albemarle risks shutting German plant if EU declares lithium a hazard

JUNE 9, 2022

tags: lithium

By Paul Homewood

Only in the disfunctional EU!


LONDON, June 7 (Reuters) – Top lithium producer Albemarle Corp (ALB.N) may have to shut its Langelsheim plant in Germany if the metal used in electric vehicle batteries is declared a hazardous material by the European Union, its finance chief told Reuters.

Lithium’s pivotal role in electric vehicles makes it an important commodity in meeting global targets to cut carbon emissions, and it was added to the EU’s list of critical raw materials in 2020.

However, the European Commission is currently assessing a proposal by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) to classify lithium carbonate, chloride and hydroxide as dangerous for human health.

That would result in a more restrictive regulatory framework for their use at a time when the EU is aiming to be self-sufficient in electric vehicle batteries by 2025.

The proposal doesn’t ban lithium imports, but if legislated will add to costs for processors from more stringent rules controlling processing, packaging and storage.

“Albemarle would no longer be able to import our primary feedstock, lithium chloride, putting the entire (Langelsheim) facility in jeopardy of closure,” said Chief Financial Officer Scott Tozier in an emailed statement.

“With sales of approximately $500 million annually, the economic impact to Albemarle from the potential closure would be significant,” Tozier added.

We have of course been promised millions of new green jobs, based around low carbon technologies. But the harsh reality is that China can produce everything much cheaper than Europe can.

Part of the reason for this is that China could not give a toss about environmental standards, while the West obsesses about ESG. It is simply not possible for Europe or the US to produce lithium for batteries without either making them unaffordable or compromising the high environmental standards currently insisted on.

But this latest case adds to the absurdity of the EU’s green agenda, as it appears that even established producers of lithium in Europe might not be able to continue processing lithium chloride, even though it is mined elsewhere.

The Greeniacs want us to abandon fossil fuels, but don’t want the alternatives to be produced in their backyard!

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