In response to European automakers’ push for lithium-ion battery packs, Savannah Resources (AIM:SAV) announced its plans to start mining lithium at its Mina do Barroso in northern Portugal by the end of 2019.
Currently, an ongoing Reverse Circulation drill programme is taking place at the site and will help define a Mineral Resource Estimate as a basis for a scoping study.
Mina do Barroso is arguably one of the most advanced lithium mining concessions in Europe and, according to company officials, it would be the continent’s first significant producer of spodumene, a hard-rock form of lithium.
“We’re in a unique position in Europe. What we have is a premier lithium project (…). Late 2019 for a production start is an aggressive target for Savannah but also one which the company thinks is achievable,” CEO David Archer told Reuters.
At present, Europe relies on lithium imports from Latin America’s ‘Lithium Triangle,’ as well from Australia and China.
When it comes to battery-making, Asia is the place to go although South Korea’s LG Chem is scheduled to open a giant lithium-ion battery factory in Poland in 2018.
According to Archer, Savannah does not yet have offtake deals, but is looking to negotiate with the companies that convert spodumene concentrate into battery chemicals, as well as with automakers.