Tees Valley Lithium has signed an agreement with Weardale Lithium to establish an integrated lithium supply chain in the North East.
Tees Valley Lithium is a wholly owned subsidiary of Alkemy Capital Investments and is behind plans for a lithium hydroxide processing facility in Teesside, which is anticipated to create up to 500 high-value full time jobs once operational.
Weardale Lithium is a natural resources company that aims to provide secure and sustainable, domestic supply of lithium with associated geothermal energy from underground brines in Weardale, County Durham.
Under the memorandum of understanding, the two businesses will work together to create a battery-supply chain industrial hub in the region and will include the potential for Weardale Lithium to supply lithium to Tees Valley Lithium for refining.
In July 2022, the UK’s first ever Critical Minerals Strategy was published which looks to maximise what the UK can produce domestically.
The report classified lithium as a critical mineral and, currently, there is no commercial lithium production or refining in the UK or Europe.
Lithium produced and refined in the UK will confer transportation cost advantages, supply assurances and an environmental-premium over foreign suppliers.
Construction of Train 1 at Tees Valley Lithium’s facility at the Wilton International Chemicals Park will produce 24,000 tpa of battery-grade LHM. Once completed, all four trains will produce a total of 96,000 tpa LHM, representing about 15 per cent of Europe’s projected demand by 2030.
Stewart Dickson, chief executive of Weardale Lithium, said: “Weardale Lithium has the objective to become a UK supplier of lithium from geothermal brines. Our partnership with Tees Valley Lithium is another important step in developing an integrated and coherent supply of lithium in North East England. In order to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles and meet net-zero targets, the UK needs to secure supply of lithium for refining and production of battery-grade lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate.
“This collaboration with Tees Valley Lithium is highly-beneficial for both parties as we both seek to maintain the momentum behind the development of the battery ecosystem in the North East.”
John Walker, chief executive of Tees Valley Lithium, added: “Tees Valley Lithium is in the process of establishing a world-class Lithium Hydroxide production at the Wilton International Chemicals Park, located in the Teesside Freeport, in order to supply the burgeoning demand from Gigafactories in the UK and Europe.
“TVL will bring high value intermediate lithium products with a low carbon footprint from around the world, and provide customers in the UK and Europe with an independent and sustainable supply of battery-grade Lithium Hydroxide and Lithium Carbonate.
“We are pleased to be bringing back high value manufacturing to the North East and securing the critical minerals for the UK’s journey to Net Zero.”