EMILI Project Overview

Banner image - Pile de sel riche en lithium

Imerys, the leader in mineral-based specialities for industry, has launched a lithium mining project at its Beauvoir site in Echassières (Allier). The EMILI project is designed to address the dual challenge of the energy transition and economic sovereignty (EMILI stands for Exploitation de MIca Lithinifère par Imerys).

At present, lithium processing is largely dominated by China (57% of global production), Chile (29%) and Argentina (9%). This quasi-monopoly means that Europe is dependent on imports of this metal, which is of strategic importance for the energy transition - lithium is one of the main components of the lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles.

Studies carried out by Imerys since 2015 have confirmed the presence of a major deposit under the Beauvoir Kaolin Quarry site in the Allier department. Imerys proposes to seize this opportunity for France and Europe through the EMILI project (EMILI stands for Exploitation de MIca Lithinifère par Imerys), the first mining project of this scale in France for over half a century.

Integrated production of low-carbon lithium

Sites d'implantations visés pour les différentes composantes du projet EMILI
Sites d'implantations visés pour les différentes composantes du projet EMILI


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The EMILI project comprises four components:

  • An underground mine, under the Beauvoir Kaolin Quarry on the Bosse massif (already the location of an open-cast mine);
  • A concentration plant to separate the minerals contained in the granite, the lithium mineralized rock. This plant, also located on the Beauvoir site, would have an annual processing capacity of around 2 million metric tons of ore;
  • A rail loading platform that would be located in La Fontchambert, near Saint-Bonnet-de-Rochefort. The mineral concentrate known as mica would then be brought in via pipelines and filtered before being loaded onto trains;
  • A conversion plant in La Loue (municipality of Saint-Victor, in the Montluçon conurbation), accessible by rail and with an annual processing capacity of approximately 330,000 metric tons of lithiniferous mica (producing approximately 34,000 metric tons of lithium hydroxide per year).

From extraction to conversion within the same geographical area, this choice of short supply chain management contributes to a reduction in the project's carbon impact, while supporting regional development.
In addition, the group aims to direct its production to the European battery production sector.

Once the EMILI project is successfully underway, it should provide a sustainable and competitive local supply for French and European carmakers and would make a major contribution to meeting the challenges of the energy transition. Throughout the process, Imerys will engage with all stakeholders, from local communities to policymakers, in a spirit of openness and transparency.

Alessandro Dazza
Chief Executive Officer at Imerys, october 2022.


Entrée en production du lithium
Start of production at the site
hourglass icon
2,5 years
Before target production
Entrée en production du lithium
25 years
Minimum mine life

Production volumes

minérau dans le sol
116,7M metric tons at 0,9 Li2O metal oxide content: 1,1M metric tons of Li2O
Ore resource material in the soil site
Production bulldozer
2,1M metric tons of granite extracted annually
Maximum production level
battery capacity
0,716M metric tons of LHM
Produce lithium hydroxide for the battery market
electric battery vehicle
700 000
Electric vehicles equipped every year with Beauvoir lithium production

Job creation

imerys cosntruction worker
direct jobs
key figure - workers picto
Indirect and secondary jobs locally

Imerys and RTE project owners

Imerys, the EMILI project owner, is a French company with sales of €4.3 billion and operations in more than 40 countries. A specialist in performance minerals, the Group aims to position itself as a key player in the energy transition through the EMILI project. 
With the same objective in mind, Imerys also has another lithium mining project on one of its UK sites (in Cornwall) and already produces carbon black and graphite, both used in batteries for electric vehicles. 

RTE is the Project Owner for the two high-voltage electric connections in the EMILI project. As operator of the public electricity transmission grid, the company has a public service mission: to guarantee the supply of electricity at all times, throughout France. Working to ensure access to low-carbon electricity, RTE is pursuing three aims to make a success of the energy transition: optimizing the French power system, driving the energy transition through innovation and the transformation of industrial infrastructure, and informing the decisions of public authorities.