Idemitsu Kosan (Head Office: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; Representative Director, President and Chief Executive Officer: Shunichi Kito, hereinafter referred to as “Idemitsu”) has made an investment*1 in Delta Lithium (hereinafter referred as “DLI”), an Australia-based company promoting lithium business. Together with the initial investment of AUD$5 million made in January this year, Idemitsu’s total investment now amounts to approximately AUD$53 million, representing a shareholding of 15%.
To respond to the increasing demand for lithium in conjunction with the electrification of mobility including electric vehicles (EVs) and the growing demand for large-scale stationary storage batteries, Idemitsu aims to accumulate knowledge of lithium mining and contribute to the production and stabilization of supply of lithium ore in Australia, a geopolitically stable country.
DLI is pursuing two projects related to lithium mines in Western Australia (project names: Mt. Ida Project and Yinnetharra Project). DLI has recently increased its capital in order to advance exploration and development studies, and Idemitsu has invested in DLI through this capital increase.
Lithium exploration activities are progressing smoothly at both projects, and regarding the Mt. Ida Project, a JORC resource*2 of 12.7 Mt of lithium ore with a grade of 1.2% was announced in October last year. A feasibility study on lithium ore (spodumene) mining is currently underway.
Idemitsu and DLI are examining collaboration in the areas of mining operations, marketing, financing, activities to obtain government support policies, mining lot acquisition activities, purchasing, processing technologies, as well as expansion into downstream lithium compound processing operations.
Australia is rich in mineral resources and has reserves of many kinds of rare metals, including lithium and vanadium. Leveraging the business base it has developed through coal mining operations in Australia over the past 40 years, Idemitsu is promoting entry into the rare metals business, which has an affinity with coal mining operations and is indispensable for the realization of a low-carbon society. The investment in DLI follows investments in Critical Minerals and Vecco*3, both of which are developing vanadium mining projects, and is part of Idemitsu’s move into the rare metals business, a necessary step for the shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy.