A UK government-funded project has successfully produced lithium-ion battery grade materials from two UK sources.
The high purity lithium carbonate was discovered by a consortium at a site in Cornwall and another from Scotland following an 18-month project called The Li4UK (Securing a Domestic Lithium Supply Chain for the UK).
The consortium includes: Wardell Armstrong International (WAI), National History Museum (NHM) and Cornish Lithium (CLL).
Assay— testing of ore to determine its ingredients and quality— of the two lithium carbonate products by the Core Research Laboratories at NHM confirmed their purity as near battery grade.
The lithium carbonate samples are the first from UK hard rock sources and could accelerate the development of a domestic supply of battery quality lithium chemicals for the UK automotive and battery industries, said Reimar Seltmann, research leader at NHM.
The Li4UK project was funded by Innovate UK as part of the UK government’s Faraday Battery Challenge.
Cornish Lithium CEO, Jeremy Wrathall, said: “Given the potential that has been established by this project to exploit lithium resources in Cornwall, it is possible that the UK could produce a significant percentage of its lithium demand domestically; thus creating a vertically-integrated supply chain and generating additional value for the UK economy.”
A conclusion of the study was it identified Cornwall as the most promising area for a future lithium extraction and production industry.
Last August, The UK government announced its support of a project by Cornish Lithium and Geothermal Engineering to construct a geothermal lithium recovery pilot plant as Europe begins to move its battery material focus away from China.
Jeremy told BEST at the time that the pilot plant project was the first step along the road to commercial extraction from the brine.