Rock Tech celebrates start of construction of lithium plant in Guben
Rock Tech Lithium has broken ground for its lithium plant in Guben, Brandenburg. The German-Canadian raw materials company is building a converter plant there to produce battery-grade lithium hydroxide for use in electromobility.
Rock Tech recently received the first partial permit and will now proceed as planned with the testing work for the concrete piles and ground preparation. The Guben converter is scheduled to go into operation in mid-2025 and produce qualified battery-grade lithium hydroxide from 2026. It is the first of five converters planned by the German-Canadian company in Europe and North America.
The ground-breaking ceremony was purely symbolic because as reported in January, the company recently received approval from the responsible State Office for the Environment to start construction of its lithium converter in Guben, Brandenburg, ahead of schedule. The first major work on site has therefore already been initiated before the official ground-breaking ceremony.
According to the company, the planned total investment volume for the battery plant is around 650 million euros. Around 170 new jobs are to be created in the course of the settlement in Brandenburg. On the occasion of the ground-breaking ceremony, Brandenburg’s Minister President Dietmar Woidke commented accordingly: “I am very pleased that we have attracted Rock Tech, a visionary cleantech company, which brings us closer to our goal of becoming a hub of modern industry, sustainable mobility, and high technology. With this groundbreaking, Brandenburg is taking another important step towards becoming a highly prosperous and climate-neutral growth cluster.”
The Brandenburg Minister of Economic Affairs, Jörg Steinbach, added that Brandenburg’s position as a centre of electromobility and the energy turnaround in Germany is once again being significantly strengthened, “Rock Tech’s lithium plant in Guben will considerably strengthen Brandenburg’s position as the centre of electromobility and energy transition in Germany. Brandenburg will thus be able to cover the entire value chain from raw material processing to battery and cell production to EV construction and battery recycling.”
Rock Tech Lithium is a German-Canadian company headquartered in Vancouver that extracts the raw material for lithium hydroxide from its mining project in Georgia Lake in Ontario, Canada. This material is to be refined into battery-ready products in Guben, among other places. As reported, the company wants to produce around 24,000 tonnes of battery-grade lithium hydroxide per year in Guben from 2025. By 2030, around 50 per cent of the raw materials are to be obtained from the recycling of used batteries. Mercedes-Benz has already secured an annual supply of an average of 10,000 tonnes of lithium hydroxide from Guben.
According to Rock Tech, the converter already stands for the new strategic goals of the EU to secure twelve times the lithium demand by 2030 and, at the same time to process 40 per cent of the lithium regionally.
The company is thus referring to a draft strategy for securing critical raw materials presented by the EU Commission in mid-March. “Our Guben Converter is spearheading the lithium refining industry in Europe. We focus on zero-waste, sustainable processing and strategic partnerships. As a Canadian-German company we are building bridges and opportunities across the Atlantic and further to Australia, the world’s largest global lithium spodumene producer,” emphasises Dirk Harbecke, Chairman and Managing Director of Rock Tech.
Main customer Mercedes-Benz also has its say in the company’s press release: “For Mercedes-Benz, the shift towards electric mobility also means a change in our supply chains,” Markus Schäfer, CTO and Member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG, is quoted as saying. “Three goals are central to us: Sustainability, raw material security and localization of procurement. Today’s groundbreaking in Guben is, therefore, another milestone for Mercedes-Benz towards the sustainable production of state-of-the-art batteries. When it comes to our lithium supply here in Europe, Rock Tech will play a key role for Mercedes-Benz in the future.”