Weardale Lithium Limited, a natural resources company based in County Durham, has announced the successful acquisition of a joint funding package of approximately £613k in collaboration with Tees Valley Lithium Ltd. The package includes a grant of approximately £430k from Innovate UK. This joint effort builds upon the Memorandum of Understanding signed last year between the two companies. They will evaluate the potential synergies of both producing and refining lithium in the North East of England.
The focus of this project is the development of innovative methods for the production and refinement of lithium extracted from geothermal brine resources. This will entail the creation of an integrated and robust route from ‘borehole to battery,’ within the North East region. The grant received will be used to advance feasibility studies and scale-up activities aiming to establish a battery-supply chain industrial hub. It will also include the examination of the potential for Weardale Lithium to supply lithium to Tees Valley Lithium for refining.
This funding was awarded under the Launchpad: Net Zero, CR&D Tees Valley, R2 competition. It supports innovation projects that will enhance the Net Zero innovation cluster activities centred on Tees Valley. Moreover, it supports the Government’s objectives in the Levelling Up White Paper.
Stewart Dickson, CEO of Weardale Lithium, expressed the company’s ambition to become a UK supplier of lithium from geothermal brines. He believes that this collaboration with Tees Valley Lithium is a vital step towards achieving this objective. Leading the way in the production of lithium from geothermal brines in North East England earlier this year, the company is now embarking on a scale-up phase. Dickson views this collaboration with Tees Valley Lithium highly beneficial for both parties, and they can advance towards larger scale testing and constructing pilot facilities.
The benefits of this partnership extend to creating new highly skilled science, technology, and engineering opportunities in the region. The companies intend to generate a local supply of high-value critical minerals products, which in turn reduces the environmental impacts and supply risks of imported raw materials.
Sam Quinn, Director of Tees Valley Lithium, expressed his delight in receiving the grant from Innovate UK. He looks forward to the partnership with Weardale Lithium, intending to bring back high-value manufacturing to the North East and help develop a UK-based supply chain for the lithium sector.
Weardale Lithium is setting the pace for innovation in the battery technology sector, and this new development is another shining example.