Teesside plant cleared for the North: Tees Valley Lithium obtains planning permission to build Europe’s largest refinery
‘A feather in our cap’: Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen
The government’s upgrade program received a boost after Tees Valley Lithium won planning permission to build Europe’s biggest refinery at Teesside.
The £250m plant, which will supply the growing electric battery industry, will create 1,000 jobs.
It will start producing 96,000 tonnes of lithium hydroxide, a key component of batteries for nearly all hybrid and electric cars, by 2025, and should be able to meet 15% of Europe’s overall demand.
It is the latest boost for Tees Valley, which has Britain’s only freeport, a post-Brexit scheme to create ten duty-free and regulatory-free industrial zones.
And it comes after Business Secretary Grant Shapps traveled to Teesside this month to unveil the UK’s first lithium refinery being built by Trafigura-backed Green Lithium.
PD Ports’ £600million lithium refinery at Teesport is also set to create 1,000 jobs during construction and 250 when commissioned in 2025.
BP is moving forward with plans to build the UK’s largest green hydrogen facility in Teesside. And South Korea’s Seah Wind is investing £300 million in a large wind turbine factory.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen hailed ‘another feather in our cap’, adding: ‘It’s great for UK business, not to mention Teesside, which has had a difficult ten years with the closure of the steelworks and the loss of thousands of jobs.This is another example of Teesside being a place where you can come and see the level in action.
It comes just three weeks after plans to make the North East a hub for green jobs and the battery industry were hit when Britishvolt, a battery company planning to develop a 3.8 billion battery factory sterling, secured five weeks of emergency funding from the commodities giant this month. Glencore after preparing to appoint directors in October.
Houchen said lithium production is crucial to moving to net zero emissions by 2050. The government wants to strengthen the electric vehicle supply chain ahead of a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in 2030 .
Lithium is the key. It is used to make batteries for electric vehicles and for wind and solar power plants. Around 90% of the world’s lithium processing is done in China and there are no refineries in Europe.
Alkemy, owner of Tees Valley Lithium, said the consent was a “critical step” towards creating an entirely new industry in Europe.