Lithium producer Albemarle could be forced to close its plant in Germany if the European Union classifies the key mineral lithium as a hazardous substance that would change the way lithium is processed and stored, the company’s chief financial officer has told Reuters.
The European Commission is currently reviewing and assessing a proposal from the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) to classify lithium carbonate, lithium chloride, and lithium hydroxide as substances hazardous to human health. An EU committee is meeting early next month to discuss the proposal, while a final decision on the issue is expected toward the end of this year or early next year.
If the EU decides to include the lithium chemicals in the hazardous category, it would deal a blow to its own goals of becoming self-sufficient in batteries this decade and significantly raise the share of electric vehicles on the roads.
The decision would change the way lithium producers and processors work and will add costs to their operations.