Demand for a new generation of electric vehicles is breathing life into an Alpine mine that was originally excavated to feed an Austrian nuclear industry that never materialized.
The developer of the site in Wolfsberg, European Lithium Ltd., is planning to move its primary stock listing to Austria from Australia in anticipation transforming the site into the continent’s biggest producer of the light metal that powers plug-in vehicles, according to a company executive.
“The potential off-take clients are European automakers,” Stefan Mueller, a non-executive director at European Lithium, said in a telephone interview. “They know that they have to secure lithium.”
Austrian geologists originally excavated the site 270 kilometers (168 miles) south of Vienna in a failed search of uranium. The lithium deposits they found went untapped because the demand didn’t exist to mine and mill the material.
That calculation’s changed more than three decades later as carmakers and consumer electronics manufacturers scramble for supply.
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