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3 minute read - 11th May 2022

UK lithium factory one step closer with new partnership

Lithium processing company Green Lithium has partnered with global commodities trader Trafigura for the supply of lithium feedstock to its planned UK-based lithium refinery.

The new refinery will be one of the first centralised commercial lithium refineries in Europe and will supply European electric vehicle and battery manufacturers with battery-grade lithium chemicals. Alongside supplying lithium feedstock, the newly-established relationship will also see Trafigura invest equity in Green Lithium’s development phase funding round.

It is forecast that the growing demand for battery-grade lithium chemicals will not be met by global refining capacity that is currently available or planned. Increasing and diversifying supply will be vital for the commercial viability of the European battery supply chain and, therefore, the electric vehicle revolution and transition to net zero.

Green Lithium’s planned UK-based lithium refinery is one step closer thanks to a new partnership Trafigura / Picture: Green Lithium

There is currently no commercial lithium refining capability in Europe, leaving the continent’s rapidly growing electric vehicle and sustainable energy storage sectors wholly reliant on China for critical battery metals. In delivering its lithium refinery, Green Lithium expects to create the missing link and guarantee upstream supply chain security.

Green Lithium has unique intrinsic value: offering flexibility as a merchant refinery capable of producing different battery-grade lithium chemical products to meet dynamic end-market needs; utilising renewable energy and hydrogen in the refining process where possible to minimise CO2 emissions and wider environmental impact; and creating circular economies in battery recycling whilst eliminating process waste through sustainable reuse of by-products.

Sean Sargent, chief executive officer at Green Lithium, said: “The electric revolution is fundamental to reducing the carbon emissions that contribute to global climate change and ensuring net zero targets can be met. Green Lithium’s refinery will accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles and sustainable energy storage through the increased supply of low-carbon, battery-grade lithium chemicals – a key component of lithium-ion batteries.

“Fulfilling this vision requires the right supply chain and investment partners. In Trafigura, we have found the perfect match in a company that not only has vast experience and expertise in the battery supply chain, but that is also willing to make a key equity investment to support Green Lithium in achieving its project objectives.”

Green Lithium expects its new refinery to create the missing link and guarantee upstream supply chain security for European EV and battery manufacturers / Picture: Green Lithium

Socrates Economou, global head of battery metals for Trafigura, added: “In addition to our core business in physical commodities trading and logistics, Trafigura has a strong track record of financing and investing in mining and metals projects globally. This landmark project has the potential to revolutionise the European supply chain for EV production and sustainable energy storage at this critical time in the energy transition.”

Following its initial private funding round, securing over five times the target amount, Green Lithium is currently raising capital to fund its development phase activity.

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