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Groundbreaking: Rock Tech’s lithium at the heart of batteries

Guben, Germany

In Guben, eastern Germany, Rock Tech’s first converter will produce lithium hydroxide for the battery and automotive industry from 2025. The groundbreaking ceremony for this took place on 27 March 2023, marking the official start of construction.

Brandenburg’s Premier Dr. Dietmar Woidke together with his Minister of Economic Affairs Prof. Dr. Jörg Steinbach, as well as Mercedes board member Markus Schäfer highlighted on Monday that Rock Tech will be the basis of a whole value chain.

Following some 300,000 hours of engineering and planning, the actual start of construction is „a great day for Guben, a great day for Lusatia, a great day for Brandenburg“, said the Premier.

„Rock Tech’s lithium factory in Guben will further strengthen Brandenburg’s position as the centre of electromobility and the energy transition in Germany.“

Dr. Jörg Steinbach
Minister of Economic Affairs of the State of Brandenburg

A central approach in procurement for Mercedes-Benz is to supply their facilities as close to their location as possible, reducing transportation and the carbon footprint.

„All of this means that when it comes to our lithium supply here in Europe, Rock Tech will play a key role for Mercedes-Benz in the future. The batteries will become the heart of our automobiles. And the lithium from Rock Tech a heart of our batteries.“

Markus Schäfer
CTO and member of the board of Mercedes-Benz Group AG

Like the latest EU legislation, Mercedes is focusing on creating regional supply chains and more independence from single players. Rock Tech’s Guben converter is also a strategic project for this reason, because the raw material, the lithium-bearing rock spodumene, can be sourced worldwide. Raw material partnerships with Canada, among others, are important elements here.

The second important factor is the converter’s principle of operation: in Guben, lithium hydroxide can be produced directly from the spodumene. All necessary processes take place on site. Together with regional partners, the location also offers the possibility of using low-emission by-products across industries, thus realising a zero-waste strategy. A real step into the future.

Dirk Harbecke, Managing Director of Rock Tech, is optimistic about the future after the day: „This is our first converter here in Guben and we will apply the technologies to further converter locations. I assume that with today’s actions, our business model will become more and more understandable for investors. And the moment that understanding is there, I am very confident that we will see a positive impact on our share price share price.“

In total, Rock Tech plans to invest about USD 683 million. The plant is expected to be ramped up in early 2025, and Rock Tech then plans to start producing battery-grade lithium hydroxide in 2026 with about 170 employees.

Picture by the City of Guben