Altamin strikes lithium MoU with Italian utilities giant

Critical metals explorer Altamin (ASX:AZI) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Italian multi-utility giant IREN (BIT:IRE) for a potential collaboration over the Lazio Geothermal Lithium Project near Rome.

Under the agreement, Altamin and IREN will explore ways to work together to maximise the probability of success for raw material production from the project. 

Specifically, while Altamin will continue to act as the lead developer at the Lazio project, IREN will offer its operational, regulatory, and public affairs skills, will scout out potential offtake partners for Lazio lithium production, and will look to assist in securing financing for Lazio’s development. 

Altamin will potentially establish a special purpose vehicle to progress the development of the project, although the MoU makes provisions for the ASX-listed business and IREN to explore an incorporated or contractual joint venture vehicle for Lazio. 

In any case, Altamin plans to lead ‘high-level’ preliminary analyses, scoping studies, pilot plant development, and other feasibility study work for the project, with IREN to provide support for these activities as it seeks out financing and offtake opportunities. 

The MoU lasts for 6 months, during which time the two parties will work to enter formal agreements to replace the early-stage business deal. At any time, IREN can propose an equity contribution to the project development vehicle that reflects the value of its contribution, and Altamin says it will negotiate such a proposal in good faith.

Altamin Non-Executive Chairman Alexander Burns says if it can successfully develop the Lazio project alongside IREN, the asset will become one of the few sources of lithium within the European Union. 

“We are delighted to be joining forces with IREN given their complementary skill set and leading reputation for developing and operating major infrastructure projects throughout Italy in related industries, including wastewater management, energy generation and electricity distribution. 

The project also enjoys proximity to infrastructure and markets and has significant geothermal energy potential that will be incorporated into the studies to be commenced shortly as part of our collaborative approach.” 

Meanwhile, IREN Executive Chairman Luca Dal Fabbro says the company’s agreement with Altamin comes as the Italian requirement for lithium is estimated to grow by 15 times through to 2040 compared to demand in 2020. 

“Hence the interest of IREN, a company at the forefront in the recovery of critical raw materials, in taking an active part by making its know-how available. 

The project with Altamin is among the first European projects to connect industrial needs and circular economy processes: our strong experience in this field will be able to provide strategic and valuable support.”

Altamin’s MoU with IREN comes just a day after the company announced that its Italian joint venture vehicle, Vedra Metals, had landed Cime Exploration Licence renewal for the Gorno Zinc-Lead-Silver Project in Italy’s Lombardy region. 

Images: Altamin
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Written By Joshua Smith
Joshua Smith has years of experience in the media sector, having worked as a markets reporter, features writer, and editor since completing a Communications and Journalism degree and a Creative Writing degree. Josh is an avid board game fan and a self-professed coffee snob.