Government invests in game changing lithium recovery technology


The Government will invest in world-leading lithium recovery technology with the potential to strengthen our geothermal energy and advanced manufacturing sectors and contribute to a lower-carbon future.

Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash has announced the new Regional Strategic Partnership Fund (RSPF) will invest in Geo40 Limited, to help scale up its lithium recovery technology at Ohaaki near Taupō.

“Lithium is a highly prized element, in much demand for electric vehicle batteries and to help mitigate the impacts of climate change. EVs are expected to account for more than half of new car sales in the northern hemisphere by 2030.”

“Overseas, traditional ways of mining lithium leave a heavy carbon footprint. In contrast, the Geo40 programme involves new technology to sustainably recover lithium from geothermal brine, and return the water to the geothermal field. The brine is a watery residue containing mineral compounds, and is a by-product of geothermal electricity generation.”

“If we can successfully build up Geo40’s green technology to commercial scale, New Zealand could become an international leader in technology for the sustainable supply of lithium, and help to build lasting action on climate change.”

“It could also help meet New Zealand’s 2050 carbon-neutral target and create jobs to support the economic recovery. Expanding geothermal energy and advanced manufacturing opportunities in Taupō will be significant to diversify its local economy.”

It is a collaboration between the government, GEO40, the landowners, and kaitiaki the Ngati Tahu Tribal Lands Trust, and power generator Contact Energy.