French mining company Imerys has acquired an 80% stake in British Lithium.

As part of the new joint venture, Imerys will provide a large lithium deposit of 161 million tonnes of inferred resources at 0.54% lithium oxide content, giving confidence of a ‘life of mine’ exceeding 30 years.

A drilling programme and pre-feasibility study are in progress.

It means Cornwall (a county in the far southwestern peninsular of England) , where the mine is based, would become the leading lithium hub in the UK, with target annual production of 20,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent, enough to equip 500,000 electric cars per year, by the end of the decade.

The transaction has been approved by the UK Government, under the National Security Investment Act protocol.

Kemi Badenoch, Business and Trade Secretary in the British government said: “This partnership shows again that the UK remains an attractive destination for international investment and will boost economic prosperity, support green industries, and bolster our energy security – not only in Cornwall, but right across the UK.”

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The venture will reduce the UK’s and Europe’s dependence on critical raw materials imports, thus contributing to the achievement of the European and British climate change target

Since 2017, British Lithium has carried out drilling and exploration on Imerys-owned land in Cornwall.

Roderick Smith, Chairman of British Lithium said: “After working closely with Imerys for several years, the Directors, shareholders, and staff of British Lithium are delighted to formalize their partnership with Imerys and are confident that this alignment of interests will propel us toward continued rapid progress.

“This marks a key milestone for British Lithium, Imerys, and the entire lithium battery industry, as they embark on a journey to establish a sustainable future for lithium production in the United Kingdom.”

The county of Cornwall (Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right)