Dr. Francis Wedin
Dear Shareholders, FY 21 has been a transformational year for Vulcan, on our journey as we develop our globally unique Zero Carbon Lithium™ Project and renewable energy business. During the year, we showed that it doesn’t need to cost more to be green, with the right rigorous scientific approach, by demonstrating outstanding financial metrics in our Pre-Feasibility Study for our planned renewable energy and lithium battery chemicals project in Germany, which will have a net negative carbon footprint (Scopes 1, 2 and 3) and will use no fossil fuels to power the process.
Because of our uncompromising approach to the climate and the environment, we have attracted, retained, and continue to grow, a unique worldleading scientific and commercial team in the fields of lithium chemicals and geothermal renewable energy. This best-in-class team is one of the key strengths of Vulcan and will be instrumental in our ability to successfully execute on our project development strategy in the months and years to come. We continue to be approached by the world’s best, who want to work for a company that fits with their values.
We were the first to commission a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) study on the global lithium hydroxide supply chain in 2019, which put lithium under the spotlight as having a high carbon and water footprint. We have since updated our study this year, which meticulously backs up the environmental credentials of our Zero Carbon Lithium™ business, demonstrating world-beating figures on all ecological metrics, including the lowest Greenhouse Gas (GHG) option for the global supply chain. Importantly, we don’t intend to be carbon neutral at some arbitrary point in the future, postponing the issue for future generations, but to be carbon neutral now and throughout our development and production ramp up. We don’t believe a company should be called “green” without doing the hard scientific work to build a green process.
We ensured that we are fully funded to completion of our Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) for our current projects, by raising $120m with Goldman Sachs and Canaccord Genuity in February. As part of this, we saw highly respected Australian institutions such as Hancock Prospecting join our register, as well as ESG-focused European funds such as the BNP Paribas Energy Transition Fund. The strong support from our shareholders old and new is much appreciated.
We have now commenced our Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS), which includes a Pilot Plant that was constructed and commissioned by the Vulcan team and has been successfully extracting lithium from “live” geothermal brine for a few months now. Putting in place the correct precautions, we have ensured that we continue to meet our tight targets for rapid project development. We hope to continue to execute our DFS and project development for our Upper Rhine Valley projects steadily and methodically in the coming year.
A key differentiating factor for us is expected to be our ability to scale up to meet the unprecedented demand that is building in the European markets. We will be assessing further avenues to build out our future production capability, as we seek to make a significant decarbonising impact on the lithium industry.
I would like to thank the whole Vulcan family, our shareholders and all our other stakeholders for their contributions during this transformational year. As we continue to challenge and disrupt the industry towards our mission of decarbonising the battery materials sector, it is our shared drive to decarbonise the world, coupled with our strict environmental values, that will be fundamental to ensuring that our journey together is a successful one.
Dear Shareholders, Your company has made great strides in the past 12-months towards bringing our valuable Zero Carbon Lithium™ Project in the Upper Rhine Valley, Germany, closer to fruition. Following upon the release of the Pre-Feasibility Study in January, we secured significant equity capital through Goldman Sachs and Canaccord Genuity, acquired additional permits as well as acquiring leading businesses in Germany in both below ground geothermal wells and above ground geothermal plant engineering. We have also successfully operated our pilot plant for lithium chloride extraction from live brines with over 90% initial recovery and secured valuable binding offtake agreements with LG Energy Solutions and Renault, post the end of the 2021 Financial Year.
In addition to a number of key hires in management during the period to support our MD, Dr Francis Wedin, we also welcomed new Directors, Dr Heidi Grön, Annie Liu and Josephine Bush, who respectively add considerable experience and expertise to the Board in the chemicals industry, lithium supply chain, and renewable energy funding, tax and ESG reporting. These skills add to the ESG communication skills bought to the Board by Ranya Alkadamani appointed in 2020. We are also fortunate to have Julia Poliscanova, a senior Director of EU’s Transport and Environment, appointed as a Board Advisor bringing additional experience on EU policy shaping renewables, energy efficiency and sustainable transport.
Your company is not only an important part of Europe’s pathway to a local source of sustainable lithium to support the European battery metals industry and EV revolution but is also leading the way as an ESG centric company that ensures ESG goals are not merely aspirations but govern the way your company operates in practice.
Under the leadership of Dr Francis Wedin and his management team in Germany and Australia we have developed a success driven culture orientated towards delivering our Zero Carbon Lithium™ Project utilising the best technologies and world-leading experts to deliver shareholder value with consequent benefits to the local communities in which we operate; the European battery metals industry and OEMs in the EV revolution. Our efforts are dovetailed with German local and Federal Government and EU climate change policies and will help achieve carbon emission reduction targets, Independent life cycle assessment studies of our Zero Carbon Lithium™ Project show an unrivalled net reduction of 15 tonnes of carbon dioxide for every tonne of lithium hydroxide produced relative to traditional hard rock mining.
Our move to list on the regulated market of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange is an important step to enable greater ownership by the European investment community for what is an important European asset. In the next 12 months, as we progress our Definitive Feasibility Study and commence the financing stage for the Zero Carbon Lithium™ Project, we will also use the expertise we have developed in geothermal lithium to grow our business in other parts of the world where the right geological conditions occur for geothermal lithium production. Such opportunities must represent similar environmental benefits and low operating costs as demonstrated in the Upper Rhine Valley.
On behalf of the Board and of the Company, I thank you all for your support and I look forward to Vulcan continuing to deliver valuable returns for shareholders in the years to come.
Gerlinde Sterns Executive Assistant
I have always been a nature-loving person. In my spare time I love to ride my bike and often go hiking. As a self-supporter, I also have a small vegetable garden at home and we get part of the energy from solar power. I am proud to be a part of the Vulcan team to contribute further to the fight against climate change.