Second Lithium Refinery Green Light To Boost Britain’s EV Sector

by | Dec 7, 2022 | Blog | 0 comments

Planning permission has been granted for a lithium refinery in the Tees Freeport, which will help the UK and Europe meet its needs for the essential mineral used in electric car batteries.

Until now lithium refining has been almost exclusively undertaken in China, leading to fears that the country could gain considerable economic and political leverage by controlling lithium supplies. But such fears could be easing rapidly as a number of new plants are proposed in Europe And the UK.

Tees Valley Lithium has just been granted planning permission for a £200 million lithium hydroxide refinery at the former Wilton Internationals site by Redcar and Cleveland Council, which will produce 96,000 tonnes of refined lithium each year. This will account for 15 per cent of Europe’s annual demand by 2030.

Much of the lithium will be imported from distant locations like South America and Australia, but some may come with a far lower carbon footprint, with a putative deal in place with Weardale Lithium if the latter firm is successful in extracting viable quantities of the mineral from the brine springs under the granite beds of the valley in County Durham.

All this could increase the need for electricians to fit EV charging systems in Manchester as the electric vehicle sector in Britain and Europe steams ahead thanks to the security of supply of refined lithium produced in the UK. As well as Weardale, Cornwall looks set to be another major source of the raw material here in the UK, with some of the world’s richest resources.

Although Tees Valley Lithium is claiming its refinery will be the first in the UK, it faces a race to secure that honour as October saw Green Lithium becoming the first firm to gain planning permission to set up a UK refinery.

Green Lithium’s plant will be smaller, supplying six per cent of European needs, but it, like the Tees Valley plant, will also be located at the Tees Freeport and is scheduled to start production in 2025.

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