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BNP Paribas to Handle Debt Financing for Standard Lithium Plant

2 min read

In another favorable sign for a fledgling lithium production industry in south Arkansas, Standard Lithium of Canada announced Tuesday from El Dorado that it has engaged BNP Paribas of Paris to be its exclusive financial adviser in obtaining debt financing for its first commercial plant to produce battery-quality lithium products.

The proposed facility, dubbed the Lanxess 1A project, will be near El Dorado, the Vancouver company said in a news release. Under its mandate with Standard Lithium, BNP will work on limited-recourse debt financing to pay for the majority of the project, which is designed to refine lithium from the underground brine of the Smackover geological formation.

Standard has been producing a limited amount of lithium products at modular test plants in El Dorado for two years, using wells and pipeline infrastructure used by Lanxess AG, the German chemical company, to extract bromine from the brine. Commercial production has been the eventual goal all along.

BNP Paribas is a “global leader in the financial advisory and project financing role for battery and critical mineral projects,” the news release said.

“We are delighted to start this engagement with BNP Paribas,” said a statement by Andy Robinson, the company president. “Standard Lithium is in the closing stages of the Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) for our first commercial project, the Lanxess 1A project. As we move towards commercialization, we have kicked off the necessary financial processes to ensure the most capital-efficient way to fund our first full-scale project. BNP brings an excellent track record of advising and securing debt financing for similar sustainable, battery and critical mineral projects, and we look forward to working closely with them as we endeavor to secure project financing for construction anticipated to begin next year.”

BNP Paribas Director Antonio Pichardo described the debt financing as landmark. “This new project is a testament to their commitment to environmental protection and demonstrates that we can meet the growing demand for lithium,” he said in the release. “BNP Paribas is determined to strengthen our climate action, in order to help our clients and our world to face the challenges of the future. We are looking forward to helping establish Standard Lithium as a leading producer of responsible lithium for the rapidly growing electric vehicle market.”

BNP Paribas is the European Union’s leading bank and key player in international banking. It operates in 65 countries and has nearly 185,000 employees, including more than 145,000 in Europe.

Earlier this month, Standard Lithium signed a joint development agreement with Koch Technology Solutions, an affiliate of Koch Engineered Solutions, to share data and together develop and commercialize lithium brine processing flow sheets for Standard’s use in the region. KTS and KES are affiliated with Koch Industries of Wichita, Kansas.

Koch Technology Solutions would also provide performance guarantees for the deployment and the technology to allow “high levels of commercial extraction,” the companies said at the time.

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