Vulcan Energy Resources (ASX: VUL) has been granted five new exploration licenses in Germany to expand lithium and geothermal exploration in the Upper Rhine Valley.
The licenses, which cover 325km², increase the company’s granted license area to over 1,000km² and are considered to be prospective for deep geothermal and lithium brine.
Commenting on the news, Vulcan Managing Director Dr. Francis Wedin said: “Following the signing of binding lithium offtake agreements with Volkswagen Group, Stellantis, Renault Group and Umicore, as well as a binding term sheet with LG Energy Solution, Vulcan’s current plans for lithium production are now fully booked for the first five to six years of planned operation, a unique achievement which is testament to our team and the uncompromising environmental credentials of the Zero Carbon LithiumTM Project. We have increasing demand from our customers for further supply. These new exploration licenses give us significant potential to further scale up our project as the market continues to grow, whilst also meeting the increasing demand for renewable heat and power.
“These new exploration licenses give us significant potential to further scale up our project as the market continues to grow”
The new exploration licenses are consistent with our strategy to leverage the unique experience of our in- house team, notably the geological expertise of our in-house geothermal engineering and geology company GeoT, to identify areas which have potential for combined geothermal renewable energy and lithium developments in the Upper Rhine Valley.
It is encouraging to see license approvals progressing efficiently, in line with the German State Governments’ commitment to expedite planning and approval timelines for new renewable energy projects and their general support for sustainable approaches to lithium production and deep geothermal energy technologies.”
The news follows an announcement in mid-December 2021 of a deal with regional energy supplier Pfalzwerke AG to acquire its operational geothermal plant at Insheim for €31.5 million.
The plant, which is producing 2.9MW of electricity on average, is reported to have existing capacity to produce a maximum of 4.8MW of renewable power, equivalent to approximately 8,000 households.
The deal also includes 100% ownership of the Insheim production licence surrounding the plant, which houses an existing indicated lithium-brine MRE of 722,000 tonnes of contained Lithium Carbonate Equivalent.
The company has reported that it aims to release a Phase 1 Definitive Feasibility Study in H2 2022, with commercial lithium production commencing by 2024.