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UK’s ‘first large scale’ lithium refinery gets green light on Teesside

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A plant which will refine lithium – a material used in electric car batteries – is to be built on Teesside.

Green Lithium, which it said would be the first large-scale facility in the UK, will be located at PD Ports’ Teesport site after getting approval from Redcar and Cleveland Council.

The company said it was “confident” the plant would open in 2027. It added more than 1,000 jobs would be created during construction, with about 250 more when it opens.

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Chief executive officer Sean Sargent said: “I’m confident we’ve got a great team together and a lot of delivery partners supporting us and that gives me the confidence that we know what we are doing and we’ve got a team in place that understands the risk profile of a project of this nature and knows how to overcome those risks.

“The next step is we’ve got to complete a fundraising round that’s going on at the moment.”

The company said the plant would provide an alternative market for European electric car manufacturers who are reliant on China and East Asia, where 89% of the world’s lithium is currently refined.

Lithium is a key component in rechargeable batteries that power numerous gadgets such as smartphones and laptops, as well as electric cars.

Last month the mining of battery-grade lithium carbonate in Cornwall was announced.

It is expected the Teesport plant will produce 50,000 tonnes of battery-grade lithium chemicals to provide batteries for one million EV car batteries every year.

The 58-acre site was chosen because of its access to a deep-water port, locally supplied renewable energy and hydrogen gas.

As well as refining lithium for EV batteries, the chemical will also be used in the production of lithium-ion batteries and energy storage.

Green Lithium hopes the plant will encourage more gigafactories, which produce batteries, to be built in the UK.

It said over the next three-and-a-half years it would spend 14 months designing the plant and then 28 months building it.

Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council leader Alec Brown, Labour, said it demonstrated the developer’s “significant confidence in our area”.

“This investment will create hundreds of jobs supporting electric vehicle production and the decarbonisation of the UK.

“With the port on our doorsteps, this will hopefully draw other industries linked to battery production to Teesside.”

 

Source: BBC News

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