Weardale Lithium has agreed to potentially supply lithium feedstock to Tees Valley Lithium's lithium hydroxide plant in Teesside, UK, and collaborate to create a battery-supply chain industrial hub in North East England, the companies said Aug. 15.
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The two companies have signed a memorandum of understanding to evaluate the potential supply, as well as to assess potential lithium processing routes for Weardale's geothermal brines and to develop an intregrated supply chain of high-value critical minerals products and an ancillary services eco-system in North East England, Weardale said in a statement.
UK-based Weardale is looking to develop a domestic resource of sustainable low-carbon lithium from geothermal brines in County Durham.
"Supply of domestic lithium is of strategic importance to the UK in achieving its net-zero ambitions and production of high-value batteries for electric vehicles in the auto-manufacturing sector," it said.
Tees Valley Lithium, which is a subsidiary of Alkemy Capital Investments, plans for its lithium hydroxide plant to initially produce 24,000 mt/year of battery-grade lithium hydroxide from 2024.
Once completed, the lithium hydroxide plant is due to produce 96,000 mt/year of lithium hydroxide, around 15% of Europe's projected demand by 2030, Alkemy said previously.
Lithium hydroxide prices have risen 137.50% since the start of 2022, with the Platts seaborne lithium hydroxide price assessed at $75,300/mt CIF North Asia Aug. 15, according to S&P Global Commodity Insights data.
"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," Weardale Lithium CEO Stewart Dickson said.
"Local supply of high-value critical minerals products should support the development of the electrification revolution for years to come, generating highly skilled science, technology and engineering opportunities and at the same time, reducing the environmental impacts and supply risks of imported raw materials," Dickson added.
Tees Valley Lithium was aiming to supply 15% of Europe's demand by 2030, Tees Valley Lithium CEO John Walker said in the statement.
"Producing the critical raw materials locally is key to the UK establishing a solid and reliable supply chain for the electric vehicle and stationary energy storage solutions," he added.
In the UK's Critical Minerals Strategy published in July, the government laid out its aims accelerate growth of the UK's domestic capabilities, collaborate with international partners and enhance international markets to make them more responsive, transparent and responsible.
To support the launch of the strategy, the British Geological Survey carried out its first criticality assessment and defined a list of highly critical minerals for the UK. These include lithium, as well as cobalt, graphite, magnesium, palladium, platinum, rare earth elements, silicon, tin, tungsten and vanadium.