December 1, 2022: Green Lithium, the chemical subsidiary of mining giant Trafigura, is to build the UK’s first large-scale lithium refinery at Teesside, in northern England.
At the same time Altilium Metals, a lithium recycling start-up, has also chosen Teesside for, it claims, the largest planned recycling facility for end-of-life EV batteries.
Green Lithium expects construction of its plant to take three years, create more than 1,000 jobs and to commission the plant in 2025. The refinery will provide 50,000 tonnes of low-carbon, battery-grade lithium chemicals annually.
Altilium has secured £3 million ($4.45 million) in government innovation awards and says the recycling plant will process battery waste from 150,000 EVs a year — providing a sustainable supply of critical metals to support growing production of EVs.
Europe has an increasing appetite for ready sources of lithium. Some 89% of hard-rock lithium, for example, is processed in East Asia.
Green Lithium CEO Sean Sargent said: “Without a localized supply, Europe’s battery energy storage and automotive sectors will fail. Green Lithium is seizing the opportunity presented by Europe’s future high demand and potential future uncertainty in the Chinese market.”
Sargent said the plant would support UK plans to boost local and regional industry and “begin to meet urgent needs of the battery manufacturing and automotive sectors within the UK and EU”.