Two North East firms secure six-figure funding to advance lithium production

Weardale Lithium Limited, a natural resources company based in County Durham, has announced that together with Tees Valley Lithium Ltd, it has secured a joint funding package of approximately £613k, which includes a grant of approximately £430k from Innovate UK.

Through collaborative research and development, the two companies are building upon the Memorandum of Understanding signed last year to evaluate the potential synergies of both producing and refining lithium in the North East of England.

The project is specifically concerned with novel methods for the production and refinement of lithium extracted from geothermal brine resources in the context of developing an integrated and robust route from ‘borehole to battery’, all within the North East region.

The funding will advance feasibility studies and scale-up activities to further a battery-supply chain industrial hub and include the evaluation of the potential for Weardale Lithium to supply lithium to Tees Valley Lithium for refining.

The funding provided under the Launchpad: Net Zero, CR&D Tees Valley, R2 competition supports outstanding innovation projects that grow activities in the Net Zero innovation cluster centred on Tees Valley and supports the Government’s goals in the Levelling Up White Paper.

Stewart Dickson, CEO of Weardale Lithium, commented: “Weardale Lithium has the objective to become a UK supplier of lithium from geothermal brines. This collaborative project 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 products.

Having been the first company to produce lithium carbonate from geothermal brines in the North East earlier this year, we are entering a scale-up phase. This collaboration with Tees Valley Lithium is highly-beneficial for both parties as we both seek to advance towards larger scale testing and construction of pilot facilities.

A local supply of high-value critical minerals products should generate highly skilled science, technology and engineering opportunities and at the same time, reducing the environmental impacts and supply risks of imported raw materials“.

Sam Quinn, Director of Tees Valley Lithium, added: “We are delighted to have received this grant from Innovate UK and look forward to our collaboration with Weardale Lithium as we seek to bring back high value manufacturing to the North East and help develop a potential UK-based supply chain for the lithium sector.”