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Top producer Albemarle risks shutting German plant if EU declares lithium a hazard

June 9, 2022

By Paul Homewood


Only in the disfunctional EU!



LONDON, June 7 (Reuters) – Top lithium producer Albemarle Corp (ALB.N) may have to shut its Langelsheim plant in Germany if the metal used in electric vehicle batteries is declared a hazardous material by the European Union, its finance chief told Reuters.

Lithium’s pivotal role in electric vehicles makes it an important commodity in meeting global targets to cut carbon emissions, and it was added to the EU’s list of critical raw materials in 2020.

However, the European Commission is currently assessing a proposal by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) to classify lithium carbonate, chloride and hydroxide as dangerous for human health.

That would result in a more restrictive regulatory framework for their use at a time when the EU is aiming to be self-sufficient in electric vehicle batteries by 2025.

The proposal doesn’t ban lithium imports, but if legislated will add to costs for processors from more stringent rules controlling processing, packaging and storage.

"Albemarle would no longer be able to import our primary feedstock, lithium chloride, putting the entire (Langelsheim) facility in jeopardy of closure," said Chief Financial Officer Scott Tozier in an emailed statement.

"With sales of approximately $500 million annually, the economic impact to Albemarle from the potential closure would be significant," Tozier added.


We have of course been promised millions of new green jobs, based around low carbon technologies. But the harsh reality is that China can produce everything much cheaper than Europe can.

Part of the reason for this is that China could not give a toss about environmental standards, while the West obsesses about ESG. It is simply not possible for Europe or the US to produce lithium for batteries without either making them unaffordable or compromising the high environmental standards currently insisted on.

But this latest case adds to the absurdity of the EU’s green agenda, as it appears that even established producers of lithium in Europe might not be able to continue processing lithium chloride, even though it is mined elsewhere.

The Greeniacs want us to abandon fossil fuels, but don’t want the alternatives to be produced in their backyard!

  1. George Herraghty permalink
    June 9, 2022 8:15 pm

    A Hazard?
    How exactly will an exponential increase in toxic mining ‘save’ the planet?
    Electric cars and the Wind & Solar ‘Transition’ Is actually Devouring the Planet!
    Crony capitalists aren’t just promoting subsidised wind and solar, they see subsidised Electric Vehicles as yet another means of lining their pockets with taxpayers’ money –
    Horrific Details here —

    • Dave Andrews permalink
      June 10, 2022 4:27 pm

      Re the toxic mining.

      The IEA has recently published it’s Global EV Outlook 2022 ‘Securing Supplies for an electric future’

      It considers two scenarios. The Stated Policies Scenario (SP) and the Announced Pledges Scenario (AP) and also gives its own assessment of what is needed to meet net zero.

      Under the SP Scenario it sees 200m EVs worldwide by 2030 and under the AP Scenario 250m EVs.

      It’s assessment for Net Zero is just over 350m by 2030 compared to 400m in it’s previous report in 2021.

      It says that to meet the demand for lithium will require 30 new mines for SP and 50 for
      AP. SP will also require 41 new nickel mines and 11 additional cobalt mines. This rises to 60 new nickel mines and 17 new cobalt mines under the AP Scenario.

      That’s a total of 82 new mines under the SP Scenario and 127 new mines for the AP Scenario.

      And that only gets us to 2030 and a total of 300 – 350 million EVs compared to the more than 1.4 BILLION ICEvs in the world today!

  2. Broadlands permalink
    June 9, 2022 8:16 pm

    “The Greeniacs want us to abandon fossil fuels, but don’t want the alternatives to be produced in their backyard!”

    The Greeniacs also don’t seem to recognize that it is the fossil fuels used for transportation that would make alternatives possible. Lithium batteries and the vehicles that go into them don’t just appear read to go. Neither do solar and wind farms.

  3. June 9, 2022 8:29 pm

    Lithium drugs are used to control maniac disorders such as anxiety and bi-polar disorder. Perhaps it is time to use them to treat the greeniacs whose obsessive behaviour is spreading such alarm and despondancy across the planet!

    • Eng_Ian permalink
      June 9, 2022 11:50 pm

      Lithium dosing is harmful. In very low levels it ca be beneficial as noted, in higher levels it causes problems. I was involved in a lithium plant in Western Australia and we had to make sure the lithium could not get into the water table below the plant, (requiring periodic monitoring for changes), nor could it be airborne above prescribed levels.

      Lithium does cause harm and is harmful. Lithium salts are easily absorbed by the body and hence can result in harm. Would you take medicine designed to reduce manic disorders and bipolar conditions, even if you didn’t have these conditions. Would you take an uncontrolled dose? Daily? What if you lived next to plant, would you want your children to be dosed?

      All plants need controls on emissions. Maybe this article would be more informative if it provided details on the current level of control in addition to the new levels of control that the EU propose.

      Maybe the proposal is too heavy handed, maybe it’s not. I would love to know, would you?

  4. June 9, 2022 8:40 pm

    but of course these chemicals are dangerous and the batteries are even more dangerous

  5. June 9, 2022 9:25 pm

    There is a theory that we are all chronically short of lithium because we don’t eat enough dirt with our food. Hence all the mental problems.

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      June 9, 2022 10:36 pm

      I genuinely thought you were taking the piss with that comment so I did a bit of research….and strewth you were right! Even to the extent that there is serious consideration being given to adding extra lithium to drinking water – who’d a thought it.
      Just one example of many I found

      • Ian Johnson permalink
        June 10, 2022 10:52 am

        Could do two birds with one stone. Add lithium fluoride.

      • Harry Passfield permalink
        June 10, 2022 12:08 pm

        Then, when you’re also on Iron tablets, you’ll be on the go all day! (Until you need a recharge).

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      June 10, 2022 10:04 am

      Goes along with my theory that the reduction in dietary cholesterol amongst children over the last 30-40 years has meant many brains have not been fully developed. Without sufficient dietary fat up to as late as 28, brains don’t form myelin sheaths properly.

      • Ray Sanders permalink
        June 10, 2022 10:50 am

        I am a retired engineer with a relatively low level of knowledge of all matters medical so all this sort of thing is quite new to me. Like the lithium issue above I checked your cholesterol claim (sorry but it outwardly seemed controversial) and I found it really is an accepted problem especially with babies. That this sort of thing has been known about for a long time makes me wonder how much we have “unlearnt” over recent years.
        The list below of high cholesterol foods to avoid reads like my daily diet!

      • Phoenix44 permalink
        June 10, 2022 1:21 pm

        Yes Ray, I did a medical degree 30 odd years ago and learnt about it then, though I subsequently didn’t pursue a medical career. The fact that children need a diet relatively high in fat is a basic medical fact but nobody bothered to tell modern parents. Instead they have been told to have low fat diets and vegetarian diets are a serious problem for children.

        Our very close relatives, Neanderthals, appear to have had a diet almost exclusively of meat, and they had bigger brains than us.

      • Curious George permalink
        June 10, 2022 3:27 pm

        Bigger brains lead to extinction ..

  6. Gamecock permalink
    June 9, 2022 9:43 pm

    ‘The Greeniacs want us to abandon fossil fuels, but don’t want the alternatives to be produced in their backyard!’

    They want you to die.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      June 10, 2022 12:10 pm

      …but they’d be perfectly OK if it was developed in PDRC using children. Out of sight…..

  7. GeoffB permalink
    June 9, 2022 9:59 pm

    The automotive industry in the west, will be destroyed by the demise of ICE vehicles, and will not be able to compete in the BEV market simply due to battery costs. An industry employing millions destroyed by the demonising of CO2. All BEV batteries and cars will be produced in the far east and China.

  8. tomo permalink
    June 10, 2022 8:30 am

    Carbon Pants Simon Evans (and likely elsewhere since these things seem co-ordinated) is saying that “Combustion engine cars use 3-4x more energy than EVs” – I simply don’t believe that – somebody should bludgeon him with facts….

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      June 10, 2022 8:56 am

      Then they ought to be 3-4 times as cheap to run, excluding all the arbitrary costs and taxes. Or else different types of energy have different costs for good reasons.

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      June 10, 2022 11:01 am

      Dr Simon Evans is clearly, shall we say, remarkably economical with the truth. It is blatantly obvious that the energy consumption of any EV is totally dependent upon the source from which the electricity is originally generated. The marginal electricity supply in the UK is from combustion of natural gas. Converting from an ICE to an EV will consume the marginal increase in electricity therefore from a CCGT. So gas will be burnt in a gas turbine at about 35 to 40% efficiency, to be transmitted and distributed with about 8% total losses (UK) to be then transformed down and then rectified into DC to charge a battery with up to 13% round trip loss back to the engine (Tesla’s own figures). Factor all that in and it would be much more efficient to simply burn the gas in and ICE.
      However, actually telling the truth does not sell his shitty little website.

  9. Phoenix44 permalink
    June 10, 2022 10:05 am

    Can the mad EU chemophobes point to any actual health problems that have been caused or us this yet another ban based on theoretical hypotheticals.

  10. Stonyground permalink
    June 10, 2022 11:05 am

    How exactly is a rechargeable battery an alternative to fossil fuels? It is only a medium for storing energy, it doesn’t actually produce it.

  11. Saighdear permalink
    June 10, 2022 12:45 pm

    Meanwhile in ITALY: The world’s carbon dioxide battery is here and needs only steel and water !! see here and if you can make sense of it … storing HEAT to recharge the battery ??? “When power needs to be supplied, the stored heat is used to heat up the liquid carbon dioxide, which turns into a gas that is then pushed through a turbine to generate electricity.

    The entire process is a closed-loop system, where no carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere. What’s even better, the technology does not use any rare-earth elements like lithium or cobalt but uses only steel and water. It can therefore be implemented anywhere and everywhere.”

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      June 11, 2022 8:45 pm

      FFS the system claims 66.7 kWh per cubic metre of cryogenically stored energy in CO2. Think about it, 1 cubic metre is 1,000litres. Just 1 litre of diesel has over 12.6kWh. These systems are commonly referred to as a joke.

  12. Dan permalink
    June 10, 2022 12:46 pm

    Er, great non story.

    Lithium is already classed as a hazardous material. Lithium carbonate, chloride and hydroxide are already classed as dangerous for human health All that is changing is potentially the classification may increased based on data.

    Are we saying that data should be ignored? Oh.

    • June 10, 2022 2:41 pm

      Of course they are dangerous!

      That is the WHOLE POINT OF THE STORY!

      Currently we farm out all of this to China etc, and wash our hands of the problem.

  13. Gerry, England permalink
    June 10, 2022 1:59 pm

    As the Western nations seek to bomb their economies back to the the Middle Ages, people wonder if there is some malign force behind the stupidity of politicians. Occam’s Razor suggests that no, they really are that retarded.

  14. dearieme permalink
    June 10, 2022 4:26 pm

    The European Commission are the people who brought you laws on the curviness of cucumbers and bends on bananas. The rest follows.

  15. June 10, 2022 4:58 pm

    Meanwhile in Hull BBC local news say
    ‘Isn’t it great there is a new 52m high silo tower in Hull, to store IMPORTED cement
    cos there is a huge demand”
    Whilst omitting to say that the campaign for NetZero by local fake-green lobbyists like the BBC created the hostile environment that caused Cemex to recently close down the South Ferriby cement works 15 miles away

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