Sigma Lithium has begun production of the key battery element in a way that is more environmentally sound, according to a new report.
The company has completed commissioning on the first phase of the Greentech Plant as part of the Grota do Cirilo project in Brazil. The Sigma team hopes to reach full production capacity of its “green lithium” by July.
The initial production run on lithium is being stockpiled and prepared for shipment of about 15,000 metric tons by May, according to Sigma. Lithium is the dominant element in most utility-scale and electric vehicle battery applications.
"Sigma Lithium was created almost a decade ago and set out to prove that lithium extraction could be done in a way that is environmentally and socially responsible,” Sigma Lithium CEO Ana Cabral-Gardner said. “Reaching this milestone from developer to producer is an incredible achievement and a testament to the many years of hard work of the entire Sigma team. We are thrilled to deliver on schedule for our supporters and partners."
Eventually, the company has predicted an after-tax net present value of $15.3 billion (U.S.) once all three phases are operational.
More on the role of Lithium in Fleet Electrification and the C&I Energy Transition
Sigma Lithium hopes to ramp up additional phases of the Grota do Cirilo project and eventually produce 270,000 metric tons per year. Fleet electrification promises to reduce carbon emissions in the transportation sector, but current mining processes produce an estimated 15 metric tons of CO2 per ton of lithium mined, according to other reports.
Sigma’s Brazil project focuses on production of dry stacked tailings include 100-percent hydroelectric power and 100-percent water recirculation, according to the company. The renewable, carbon-free power supply and other methods greatly reduce the carbon frootprint, the company has said.
"We are endlessly proud to be producing our first tons of Green Lithium, and we hope to shine a spotlight on the tremendous potential for Brazil to be a leader in the energy transition as a key supplier of raw materials that can be mined and processed in a sustainable way for our environment and our communities."