In an effort to boost the electric car industry, the company can now produce 5kg of cost-effective lithium carbonate per day
British Lithium took a major step toward commercial production in the UK, which is a boost to the country’s electric vehicle drive.
The pilot plant of the company in Cornwall can now produce 5kg of lithium carbonate per day, which is more affordable for mass-market cars than the lithium hydroxide used to make more expensive models.
The key to decreasing dependence on China is mining the metal and using it to make batteries in Britain.
Although the amounts produced are not as high as British Lithium’s target, they provide useful proof of concept.
Roderick Smith, the chairman, stated that the whole point of the project was to improve the technology. We’ll now have a year of trials, changes, and testing. I expect customers to start to get involved in the process and may want their product to be unique.
The company hopes to be able to produce 21,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate/hydroxide per year. This should meet more than 25% of UK demand.
The company is currently developing its own method of extracting the minerals from the mica in Cornish granite.
According to Mr Smith, a full-scale plant is only three years away.
Although the company is the first to produce the material at pilot scale (although Cornish Lithium, a rival producer of lithium, was part of a team that extracted lithium from samples of Scottish and Cornish rock around a year ago),
These developments occur amid a scramble for enough lithium from the ground in order to meet global demand. Prices also soared last year as electric car production increased.
Other chemicals, like the more abundant sodium, are still being tested but they remain in their early stages.
The majority of lithium is from South America or Australia. FireFinch, an Australian miner, said it would push ahead with a lithium mining project for Mali. It partnered with Jiangxi Ganfeng Lithium of China to invest $255 million.
Vulcan Energy, a Volkswagen supplier, received exploration licenses, expanding its efforts in Germany to find the metal in Germany’s Upper Rhine Valley. Carmakers across the continent are also trying to locate local supplies.
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