Government invests in lithium recovery technology

The government will invest in the world’s advanced lithium recovery technology with the potential to strengthen our geothermal and advanced manufacturing sectors, and contribute to a low-carbon future.

Minister for Economic and Regional Development Stuart Nash has announced that a new Regional Strategic Partnership Fund (RSPF) will invest in Geo40 Limited to help expand lithium recovery technology in Oaxaca near Taupo.

“It’s a work program that changes the game,” Stuart Nash said.

“The investments are the first made by the RSPF. They are fulfilling their manifesto commitment to continue supporting regional economic development after the province’s Growth Fund closes to applications. Regional leaders are helping to set strategic priorities for RSPF investments that are the catalyst for initial funding. for other investments.

“Lithium is a very valuable element, in high demand for batteries for electric vehicles and helping to mitigate the effects of climate change. It is expected that by 2030 electric cars will account for more than half of new car sales in the northern hemisphere.

“Abroad, traditional lithium mining leaves a significant carbon footprint. In contrast, the Geo40 program includes new technology for the sustainable recovery of lithium from geothermal brine and the return of water to the geothermal field. Brine is an aqueous residue containing mineral compounds, and is a by-product of geothermal electricity generation.

“If we can successfully deploy Geo40 green technology to commercial scale, New Zealand could become an international leader in technology for sustainable lithium supplies and help build lasting measures to combat climate change.

“It could also help achieve New Zealand’s 2050 carbon-neutral goal and create jobs to support economic recovery. Expanding geothermal energy and advanced production opportunities in Taupo will be important to diversify the local economy.”

“The region is already known worldwide as a tourism destination, and every third job is directly or indirectly related to tourism. Now Geo40 provides a chance to further strengthen the regional economy and increase resilience for jobs and business.

“The $ 2 million investment through Kānoa, the regional economic development department, will result in the government gaining a further stake in Geo40 Limited. This will allow the company to improve the method of lithium recovery before moving to commercial production.

“By taking a stake in the company, the government has the opportunity to participate in investment growth, and the company has the opportunity to grow without the additional burden of debt on its balance sheet.

“Geo40 has proven experience in the world’s leading solutions for the extraction of precious minerals and elements from geothermal brine. It already exports silica extracted from the Ohio site. Silica technology has also been supported by the government with a $ 15 million loan and funding from the Provincial Growth Fund. 2019.

“This is a collaboration between the government, GEO40, landowners and kayaks, the Ngati Tahu Tribal Fund, and the Contact Energy energy generator. Local government leaders across the region have also helped by supporting energy and cutting-edge manufacturing projects as priorities for investment with the RSPF.

“In Waikato, there are 215 regional economic development projects supported by the government, with approved funding of $ 273 million. Those in Taupo involve large sums, such as the reconstruction of downtown Taupo for $ 20.6 million and $ 5 million for the reconstruction of Taupo Airport. “Others are more modest, such as $ 142,000 on tourism infrastructure such as toilets and kitchens for camping. And some of them can be truly transformative, such as the events in Ohio,” said Stuart Nash.

(Participating in a press release from the New Zealand government)

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