After a period of speculation, British mining and processing firm Green Lithium has announced that it has found a site for what could be the United Kingdom’s first large-scale lithium refinery. Teesport, a major port in Northern England, was selected as the location for the facility, which is expected to produce around 50,000 metric tons of the vital metal annually once it is fully operational.
Construction of the said plant will cost around $687 million and will run for the better part of three years. Green Lithium expects to commission the plant for operations by 2025.
According to an official statement, the lithium produced in the Teesport facility will be sent to the supply chain for lithium-ion battery production, as well as the production of portable energy storage solutions, items necessary for power grid stabilization, as well as electric vehicle (EV) batteries.
The announcement was officially posted on the London Stock Exchange website on Monday, November 7th.
A Timely Decision
Green Lithium’s announcement is a timely one, given how the UK government is set to end the sale of all new gas- or diesel-powered vehicles by 2030. Likewise, the government will require all newly manufactured vehicles to have zero tailpipe emissions beginning in 2035.
The greater part of Europe is also looking into similar initiatives to meet the zero-carbon goals of countries that are part of the European Union.
Better for the Environment AND the Economy
Even as the Green Lithium facility is set to help the country make the shift towards green and renewable energy in the transportation and manufacturing sectors, it is also seen as a way to boost the national economy.
According to UK Business Secretary Grant Shapps, the Green Lithium refinery is set to generate over 1,000 jobs throughout its construction period, as well as 250 permanent positions requiring a great deal of technical skill among the local population once it is fully operational.
In terms of the supply chain for the EV battery sector and others, Shapps added that the Green Lithium initiative would enable the country to move swiftly to ensure a secure and steady supply of key materials in light of geopolitical threats and other events beyond the government’s control which could severely hamper the entry of these components for EV manufacturing.
The UK is far from the only nation that is securing its place in the lithium game. Several European nations are also scrambling to build up their own stockpiles of the metal to reduce their dependence on foreign suppliers, specifically China.