Automotive|Business|Components|Construction|Energy|Financial|Mining|PROJECT|Projects|Refinery|Renewable Energy|Resources|Systems|Turbines|Products|Environmental|Turbines
Automotive|Business|Components|Construction|Energy|Financial|Mining|PROJECT|Projects|Refinery|Renewable Energy|Resources|Systems|Turbines|Products|Environmental|Turbines

UK supporting the construction of large-scale lithium refinery

An image of Grant Shapps

UK Business Secretary Grant Shapps

7th November 2022

By: Rebecca Campbell

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor


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The UK government announced on Monday that it was supporting the establishment of the first large-scale merchant lithium refinery in Europe. To be constructed by UK company Green Lithium, the refinery would be located in Teesside in north-east England. The project has been backed by the UK government to the tune of more than £600 000, through its Automotive Transformation Fund.

In fact, the facility would be the first merchant lithium refinery built anywhere outside of Asia. Currently, 89% of the world’s lithium processing took place in East Asia.

Lithium was, of course, a critical mineral, being essential in the manufacture of modern batteries. Like other critical minerals, the supply had a “high risk” (in the words of the UK government press release) of being disrupted, because of the complexity of the supply chains and the volatility of the markets. Yet all critical minerals were essential for key products needed today, ranging from mobile phones to wind turbines to jet fighters.

The Teesside refinery would produce battery-grade materials, which would be used in consumer technologies and renewable energy systems, as well as in electric vehicles. Construction of the refinery was planned to start next year. The refinery would set new environmental standards for the production of lithium and, when completed, would have a production capacity of 50 000 t/y of battery-grade lithium.

“We’re backing companies, like Green Lithium here in Teesside, to grow the new, green industries across the UK, sparking jobs and growth for decades to come,” affirmed UK Business Secretary (Cabinet Minister) Grant Shapps.

“This is levelling up in action. The refinery will deliver more then 1 000 jobs during its construction and 250 long-term, high-skill jobs for local people when in operation. It is also allowing us to move quickly to secure our supply chains of critical minerals, as we know that geopolitical threats and global events beyond our control can severely impact the supply of key components that could delay the rollout of electric vehicles in the UK.”

The UK government has also provided financial support for the development of two lithium mining projects in the south-west of England. These are British Lithium and Cornish Lithium, seeking to exploit different lithium resources in different ways. 

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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