Australian lithium developer Liontown Resources has entered an agreement with Japanese trading house Sumitomo to investigate developing a lithium supply chain between Australia and Japan. The agreement will support a jointly-funded study to evaluate the feasibility of using lithium concentrate from Liontown's Kathleen Valley project in Western Australia to produce lithium hydroxide in Japan.
Liontown will also consider using a future lithium sulphate product produced at an Australian plant to produce lithium hydroxide in Japan. The study is part of Liontown's overall downstream development strategy and is expected to take two years to complete. Kathleen Valley is expected to market its first direct shipping ore later this year and is on track to produce its first concentrate in mid-2024. Binding offtake agreements are in place with South Korea's LG Energy Solution and US automakers Tesla and Ford.