Saudi Ma’aden, KAUST to co-invest in lithium extraction startup

Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma’aden) and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) have agreed to co-invest in the latter’s startup Lithium Infinity (Lihytech).

The game-changing technology extracts lithium from unconventional resources, including seawater, the Saudi-listed mining major said in a post on social messaging platform X on Thursday.The technology has the potential to commercialise KAUST research, creating strategic impact and value for the Kingdom.In January, Ma’aden and KAUST Innovation Ventures Fund announced plans to invest $4 million and $2 million, respectively, into Lihytech.Lihytech has patented a membrane-based lithium extraction technology developed by Professor Zhiping Lai at KAUST. Lithium is often called the new “white gold” because its batteries power EVs, smartphones, personal electronic devices and more. However, lithium demand is outstripping supply.In August 2023, a CNBC news report said the world could face a lithium supply deficit as early as 2025 due to the electrification of transport sector.(Writing by D Madhura; Editing by Anoop Menon)(

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