Market Herald logo

Subscribe

Be the first with the news that moves the market
  • Vulcan Energy Resources (VUL) MD Francis Wedin has fronted up to criticisms raised in short seller group J Capital’s report – a report that the Federal Court ruled must be withdrawn
  • J Capital must publicly apologise to Vulcan for its ‘God of Empty Promises’ report into Vulcan’s lithium extraction project in the Upper Rhine Valley region of Germany
  • In an interview with The Market Herald, Dr Wedin said doubts cast by the report had hit the company’s share price, but amounted to a blip on Vulcan’s recent gains
  • Vulcan shares are sitting at $10.63

Vulcan Energy Resources (VUL) MD Francis Wedin has fronted up to criticisms raised in short seller group J Capital’s report – a report that the Federal Court ruled must be withdrawn.

J Capital must publicly apologise to Vulcan for its ‘God of Empty Promises’ report into Vulcan’s lithium extraction project in the Upper Rhine Valley region of Germany.

In an interview with The Market Herald, Dr Wedin said doubts cast by the report had hit the company’s share price, but amounted to a blip on Vulcan’s recent gains.

“It’s all relative,” he said.

“So we’re one of the best performers I think in the last 18 months-two years on the ASX.

“When I joined the company we were at 15 cents, now we’re at over $10, so what’s happened over the space of a few weeks is hopefully not too relevant over the context of what we’re trying to do over the next 10 years.

“Europe is in strong need of lithium supply, and sustainable lithium supply, which is what we are trying to do. So we’re just getting on with the execution of the zero-carbon lithium project.”

Dr Wedin said Rio Tinto’s announcement that it’s acquiring a direct lithium extraction project in Argentina for more than $825 million was a ‘vote of confidence’, as was a $140 million investment by a subsidiary of Koch Investments Group into Standard Lithium, which is planning to extract lithium from tail brine in Arkansas.

Vulcan has offtake agreements with four tier one car manufacturers, including Volkswagen and Renault groups. Dr Wedin said securing these agreements has involved visits to the geothermal site and numerous presentations.

“I’d say the smart money is investing into this space,” he said.

“There’s a lot of debate in technical circles about whether direct lithium extraction works, it has been operating commercially on brines to extract lithium since the 1990s.

“For each project, the brine is slightly different geochemically. You need to tweak the brine and absorbents to suit what you are doing and you need to tweak the parameters to optimise it, but it’s not a binary – will this work, wont it work, it works, it’s happening, it accounts for a significant amount of global production already, so it’s just a matter of tailoring it to your particular project.

“There’s always execution risk with any chemicals project and there are a lot of moving parts, there’s lots of things we have to control, there’s a lot of risks we have to control. We are building a geothermal project, a lithium extraction project, a lithium processing project.

“What would, in the normal course of events, be at least three separate businesses, we’re rolling into one fully-integrated renewable energy and zero-carbon lithium business, I mean there’s heaps of execution risk, so we shouldn’t shy away from that, but individually, all of those different technologies, we’re very confident all of those work.”

Dr Wedin says while in-house staff worked on the pre-feasibility study, it had been signed off by independent consultants and that process would continue for the Definitive Feasibility Study.

On January 1, Vulcan Energy Resources takes over the geothermal power plant which services regional centres in Germany.

Dr Wedin said the company had been engaging with layers of Government there and it stands firm on its claim that it’ll extract battery grade lithium hydroxide from the plant’s brine from 2024.

“I’m moving over to Europe to try and make sure it is achievable,” he said.

“The 2024 involves pushing hard to get there, but we believe it’s eminently achievable, so hopefully we will get there.”

Vulcan shares are sitting at $10.63.

VUL by the numbers
More From The Market Herald
The Market Herald Video

" Askari Metals (ASX:AS2) acquires Barrow Creek Lithium project after raising $2.6m

Askari Metals (ASX:AS2) has acquired the Northern Territory Barrow Creek Lithium project after completing a $2.6…
Agrimin (ASX:AMN) - CEO, Mark Savich

" Agrimin (ASX:AMN) announces $7m cap raise

Following a trading halt earlier in the week, fertiliser development company Agrimin (ASX:AMN) has announced plans…

" Race Oncology (ASX:RAC) reports $1.8m in cash outflows

Race Oncology (ASX:RAC) reports $1.8 million in cash outflows