£500k grant given to explore lithium mining in Cornwall
The Cornwall-based company has received £500,000 funding from the government to continue its work in the St. Austell area. It is hoped that if a British firm is successful in extracting lithium, it will be possible to attract electric car battery gigafactories to open in the UK.
The fact that lithium is relatively light and highly reactive makes it ideal for use in batteries. The batteries used to power electric cars are one of the most lucrative uses of lithium. Furthermore, the sector is growing: global sales of zero-emission vehicles have grown by over 150% in 2020.
British Lithium Limited won the grant on the basis of the company’s preliminary economic assessment (PEA) - a technical feasibility study into the viability of the mining project - and its declaration of a Joint Ore Reserve Committee (JORE). This makes it the first company in the UK to have established a resource.
The chairman of British Lithium Limited, Roderick Smith, commented: “We have undertaken many years of metallurgical research to develop a unique process for extracting lithium from micaceous granite – something never done commercially before. We have our own laboratory in Roche and our aim is to build a quarry and refinery in Cornwall that will produce 20,000 tonnes per year of lithium carbonate”.
While cars are Great Britain’s biggest export by value, only one lithium battery gigafactory is currently being planned.
Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition
The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.
The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).
This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.
In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.
The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.