Li4UK: Securing a domestic lithium supply chain for the UK
The increasing demand for lithium
The Li4UK project is demonstrating the feasibility of producing battery-quality lithium compounds from lithium found in UK rocks and geothermal waters.
As electric vehicle production increases, the demand for lithium components is expected to grow exponentially to produce lithium ion batteries.
Most of the world’s lithium is produced in South America or Australia and shipped to China for processing into battery-grade lithium chemicals. There is currently no commercial lithium production in Europe.
Lithium-bearing granites from Cornwall
Our research team is untapping the lithium potential of the granites and geothermal brines in South-West England. The mineral system analysis carried out by the Li4UK team reveals regional and mineralogical diversity with granites, pegmatites, evaporates, coal and geothermal brines.
Securing reliable supply chains for critical materials such as lithium
The Li4UK consortium is addressing a critical missing link in the UK’s battery material supply chain. We are identifying processing technologies and possible sources of raw materials needed to develop a sustainable, domestic lithium supply chain.
The Li4UK project has increased awareness in both local and national government about the vital role that minerals will play in underpinning the UK’s clean growth and future of mobility ambitions.
Innovative lithium extraction
The technological challenge is to build on recent innovations in lithium extraction and ascertain if UK sources of lithium can be processed commercially into lithium chemicals suitable for batteries.
The Li4UK project
Assessing the feasibility of extracting lithium from domestic sources and examining the case for locating a lithium conversion plant within the UK in order to build a critical new industry for Britain.
The Natural History Museum leads the regional lithium assessment based on field sampling of most prospective sites and their mineral characterization.
Using the Museum's collections to research lithium minerals
The world-class mineralogical, petrological and ores collections of the Museum are used by Li4UK researchers.
The historic collections of the Museum stem from mining and sampling activities of past centuries. This legacy curated at the Museum gives insights into the wealth of lithium bearing rocks now often hidden underneath remediated mine sites
There are more than 100 known lithium-bearing minerals, but less than ten of them are currently economic to extract.