Lithium processing company Green Lithium has partnered with Singapore-based commodity trader Trafigura on lithium feedstock supply for the planned commercial lithium refinery in the UK.

Green Lithium is planning to build a centralised lithium refinery with a 50,000 million tonnes per year (Mtpa) capacity to supply battery-grade lithium chemicals.

These chemicals are vital for the commercial viability of the battery supply chain, the transition to net-zero emissions, and the electric vehicle (EV) revolution in Europe.

The alliance will see Trafigura supply lithium feedstock for the proposed refinery and make an equity investment in Green Lithium’s funding round intended for the refinery’s development phase.

The investment forms part of Trafigura’s efforts to diversify and develop its business across other battery metal commodities while boosting its position in the battery and electric vehicle value chain.

In a press statement, Trafigura said: “Given the importance that lithium plays in the supply chain – and, more broadly, in the transition to a decarbonised, greener economy – an agreement with Green Lithium represents a milestone for Trafigura’s international battery metals business.”

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Currently, Europe has no commercial lithium refining capability. This makes the continent depend on China for critical battery metals to meet the demand for the EV and sustainable energy storage sectors.

Through the new lithium refinery, Green Lithium is anticipated to create the missing link in Europe while ensuring upstream supply chain security.

Green Lithium CEO Sean Sargent said: “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.”

The proposed refinery is expected to produce lithium hydroxide enough to support the production of more than one million EVs/year.

Trafigura battery metals global head Socrates Economou said: “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.”