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Lithium firm Stardust Power to go public

Metal Tech News - November 22, 2023

Company to build Oklahoma refinery that will provide a domestic supply of battery-grade lithium for EVS.

Marking a major milestone on its quest to curb America's reliance on China for a battery material critical to transitioning to low-carbon energy and transportation, Stardust Power Inc. has finalized a deal valued at $490 million that will list the emerging domestic lithium refiner on the Nasdaq stock exchange.

"Stardust Power aims to solve one of the largest challenges of the energy transition – reliable access to the critical minerals that will make the transition a reality," said Stardust Power CEO Roshan Pujari.

Battery supply chain analyst Benchmark Mineral Intelligence forecasts that the global energy transition will drive a 5,700% increase in the demand for lithium by 2030.

While the United States has large reserves of raw lithium to meet its share of the rocketing demand, it has limited capacity to upgrade these reserves to the battery-grade lithium required by the battery gigafactories being built across the nation.

"Refined lithium is the key component in the lithium-ion batteries which make the proliferation of EVs, and decarbonization of transportation, possible," Pujari added.

This link of the supply chain is currently dominated by China, which refines around 85% of the raw lithium produced worldwide.

To help establish a domestic source of refined lithium for America's energy transition, Stardust is moving forward on plans to build a facility on a 66-acre site it has already secured just outside of Tulsa, Okla., that is slated to have the capacity to produce 50,000 metric tons of battery-grade lithium, which is enough for the batteries of roughly 1 million sedan sized EVs, per year.

Oklahoma is at the center

The Oklahoma locale puts the coming Stardust lithium refinery at the very center of America's burgeoning lithium battery supply chain.

Significant reserves of raw lithium feedstock for the plant exist and are being explored in Arkansas and Pennsylvania to the east, Nevada and California to the west, and Texas to the south.

At the same time, the Stardust refinery will also be centrally located amongst the lithium battery gigafactories being built in 15 states across the U.S.

With access to America's largest inland waterway system, a strong interstate highway network, and rail lines, the refinery will easily be able to ship in raw feedstock from American suppliers and ship out battery-grade lithium to go into batteries powering EVs and storing clean energy to charge them.

On top of the geographical advantages, Oklahoma is a longstanding energy state with a highly skilled workforce and a pro-industry ecosystem.

Stardust says this expansive infrastructure network offers a supportive system for growth opportunities, including vertically integrating with upstream lithium suppliers.

The lithium refining company is already working with strategic partners to make investments to develop upstream supply lines, including the recovery of lithium from oil and gas wastewater, that will help break America's dependence on imports from China and others for the refined lithium needed for the energy transition.

Merger and listing

To enter the public arena with an enterprise value of $490 million and a listing on a major U.S. stock exchange, Stardust is merging with Global Partner Acquisition Corp. II.

"We are extremely pleased about GPAC II's business combination with Stardust Power, a pioneering American lithium refiner with impressive growth potential and a massive addressable market," said Global Partner Acquisition Corp. II Chairman and CEO Chandra Patel.

GPAC II is backed by Antarctica Capital, a New York-based firm dedicated to investments in private markets and real assets that entered 2023 with roughly $1.5 billion of assets under management.

"We believe our track record as a constructive and value-added group makes us compelling partners to enable the Stardust team to execute successfully its public listing and scale to become an industry leader," Patel added.

Supported by the financial wherewithal of CPAC II, the existing Stardust Power leadership team is expected to remain in place and continue to execute the merged company's strategy to "solve one of the largest challenges of the energy transition."

The merged company will trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol "SDST" upon the closing of the transaction.

Author Bio

Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News

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With more than 15 years of covering mining, Shane is renowned for his insights and and in-depth analysis of mining, mineral exploration and technology metals.


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