BRISBANE, Nov. 15, 2022 - Allkem Ltd. (ASX|TSX: AKE, "Allkem" or the "Company") and Toyota Tsusho Corporation ("TTC") are pleased to advise that the Naraha Lithium Hydroxide plant in Japan has produced its first lithium hydroxide chemical product. Allkem has a 75% economic interest in Naraha through a joint venture with Toyota Tsusho Corporation who manage the Naraha operation.
TTC and contractor Veolia Jenets ("Veolia") completed construction earlier this year and commissioning activities have been progressing utilising technical grade lithium carbonate feedstock from Olaroz. First production occurred on 22 October and the plant continued operating at a utilisation rates up to 85% until 5 November when it was temporarily shut for scheduled cleaning, maintenance and optimisation work.
With first lithium hydroxide production achieved, the focus will be on progressively increasing the product quality and consistency to reach nameplate capacity of 10ktpa. A 12-month ramp up period is expected, during which progressive quality improvement to a battery grade product is targeted for qualification by offtake customers. It is expected that the majority of off-spec production during the ramp up period will be sold to chemical re-processors.
A Completion Ceremony will be held on site tomorrow 16 November 2022 with representatives from Allkem, TTC, Veolia and other distinguished guests.
Allkem CEO and Managing Director, Martin Perez de Solay said, "With our partner TTC, we have achieved a major milestone in successfully producing lithium hydroxide further delivering our vertical integration strategy and the diversification of our product offering. This facility is the first of its kind in the region and we have proven the technology of converting Olaroz technical grade lithium carbonate feedstock into lithium hydroxide. We have a first mover's advantage and will ultimately be supplying the high-end battery and cathode market."
"I want to thank the TTC team for their tenacity and skill to bring this project to completion. It has not been without challenges such as COVID and it is those hurdles which make this achievement even more significant."
TTC Chief Operating Officer for Metal Division, Masaharu Katayama said, "It is with great pleasure that we announce the completion of construction and first production at Naraha. I want to thank all of the Toyotsu Lithium Corp. team, local and provincial authorities whose dedication has ensured this successful outcome. Finally, I want to acknowledge the Naraha operation is another valuable addition to the enduring and successful partnership with Allkem that started over a decade ago at Olaroz."
Figure 1: Lithium hydroxide product
This release was authorised by Mr Martin Perez de Solay, CEO and Managing Director of Allkem Limited.
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