Weardale Lithium Limited, an innovative natural resources company based in County Durham, UK, has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) with Tees Valley Lithium Ltd (“TVL”), developers of an independent and sustainable lithium chemical processing hub at the Wilton International chemicals park in Teesside, U.K., where TVL will refine high value lithium feedstock and produce battery-grade lithium hydroxide monohydrate to the UK and European markets.
WL and TVL consider there to be significant potential synergies of both producing and refining lithium in the North East of England. Under the MOU, WL and TVL will work together to create a battery-supply chain industrial hub in the North East of England. This will include the evaluation of the potential for WL to supply lithium to TVL for refining.
Weardale Lithium is developing a potential domestic resource of sustainable “green” lithium from naturally occurring geothermal brines to support the rapidly expanding electric vehicle supply chain in North East England as well as the wider automotive industry in the UK. 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.
In July 2022, the UK’s first ever Critical Minerals Strategy was published which amongst other objectives, seeks to accelerate the UK’s domestic capabilities by maximising what the UK can produce domestically.
Lithium is classified as a Critical Mineral in this report; 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.
Stewart Dickson, CEO 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. This builds on the region’s existing strengths in electrification, automotive and advanced manufacturing and enhances the North East’s position at the forefront of electrification technologies.
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. This is potentially win-win for both companies and the North East”.
John Walker, CEO of Tees Valley Lithium said: “TVL are looking to establish world class Lithium Hydroxide production in the Wilton International Chemicals Park in the Teesside Freeport to supply the burgeoning demand from Gigafactories in the UK and Europe.
“Tees Valley 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. Tees Valley Lithium is aiming to supply 15% of Europe’s demand by 2030. We are pleased to be bringing back high value manufacturing to the North East and securing the critical minerals for our journey to Net Zero.
We are very happy to be working in close collaboration with Weardale Lithium and having access to the wide array of skills in the region, as this will help us to accelerate the localisation and decarbonisation of our products. 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.”