Ikigai AXL backed green lithium receives planning permission

Once operational the 50,000-tonne output refinery will enable downstream production of over 1 million EVs

Teesside, United Kingdom, 28 July 2023: Green Lithium has today announced that it has received UK Planning Permission for its large-scale lithium refinery at PD Ports in Teesside, UK. This facility will provide much-needed support to the automotive and battery manufacturing industries in the UK and the EU, as the demand for lithium processing capabilities increases due to the global shift to electric vehicles (EVs).

Green Lithium is committed to establishing leading environmental, social, and governance credentials, including reducing its carbon footprint and emissions. The refinery in Teesside will use low-energy processes, renewable electricity, hydrogen gas, and carbon capture technology to achieve a 75% lower carbon footprint than traditional refineries.

The plant will also use a non-acid leach process that has low environmental impact, making it a sustainable and low-carbon refining process. Green Lithium’s aim is to set higher environmental standards within the industry and support the acceleration of the adoption of EVs and sustainable energy storage. The success of Europe’s battery energy, storage, and automotive sectors depends on localized supply, which Green Lithium’s refinery will provide.

These factors underline why the UK Government made lithium a key part of its Critical Minerals Strategy in 2022. By 2030, the overall European market alone will require 800,000 tonnes of refined lithium per year, as the annual gigafactory output of Europe’s top five lithium battery makers is set to grow by +28%.

Green Lithium is seizing the opportunity presented by Europe’s future high demand and potential future uncertainty in the Chinese market by building a refinery that will enable the growth of localized battery and EV industries in the UK and the EU.

Ikigai AXL has been supporting Green Lithium to create a bankable structure for the project since its early days.

Sean Sargent, Chief Executive Officer of Green Lithium, said: “I am thrilled we have been granted permission to set up a lithium refinery at the Teesport site, which we believe is an ideal location for producing low-carbon and environmentally-friendly lithium. The refinery will have an annual production capacity of 50,000 tonnes of battery-grade lithium chemicals, which will help meet the growing demand in Europe.

“East Asia currently processes 89% of the world’s hard-rock lithium, and demand there is expected to exceed production output by 2030. Therefore, the UK and EU’s dependence on imported refined lithium chemicals creates uncertainty over supply, price, and volume security.

“Our product will be used in the production of lithium-ion batteries, EV batteries, energy storage, and grid stabilization. With this level of production, we can facilitate the manufacture of over 1 million EVs in Europe by 2030, where the market is expected to produce over 15 million cars per year, supporting continent-wide security of supply.”

Nusrat Ghani, Minister of State at the Department for Business & Trade, said: “This an exciting development and milestone on Green Lithium’s journey to deliver the UK’s first lithium refinery. Lithium is an essential component of batteries and a secure supply will be critical for our automotive and green energy industries.

“Green Lithium’s plans for a refinery in Teesside highlight the UK as a strategic location for refining and mid-stream manufacturing, reinforcing the UK as a leading player in the global race for critical minerals and supporting the aims of our Critical Minerals Strategy.

“The Government is supporting critical minerals through the Automotive Transformation Fund and will continue to explore how it can support UK companies in building the diversified, responsible, and resilient critical minerals supply chains of tomorrow. I look forward to visiting and seeing the amazing technology firsthand in the near future.”

Roberto Castiglioni, co-founder of Ikigai AXL, commented: “Having had the privilege of working closely with the Green Lithium team for the last two years, we can wholeheartedly express our admiration for their dedication and perseverance. The progress they have made thus far is truly impressive, reflecting their commitment to environmental stewardship and energy transition. This news is key to the development of the project and massively de-risks the overall profile of the project. We are now looking forward to the project to complete the development phase and start construction.”

Green Lithium has raised £5.7m to date, having recently closed a Pre-Series A equity raise at £3.3m. The company is now seeking c. £20m of Series A development funding, with Trafigura having committed to fund part of the capital raise. Green Lithium is expecting to close this funding round in the next months. 

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