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UK-French firms strike deal to drive up lithium output

LONDON (AFP) – French industrial metals group Imerys said yesterday it agreed a joint venture with British Lithium to accelerate United Kingdom (UK) mining of the mineral used in batteries for electric vehicles.

The partnership is the result of Imerys acquiring 80 per cent of British Lithium.

Cornwall, a region in southwest England, “would become the leading lithium hub in the UK”, a joint statement said.

Lithium can be found in Cornish granite, while British Lithium has carried out drilling and exploration on Imerys-owned land in Cornwall since 2017.

The venture targets annual production by the end of the decade of 20,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent, enough to equip 500,000 electric cars per year.

“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 UK,” said British Lithium chairman Roderick Smith.

Imerys chief executive Alessandro Dazza told a conference call that the deal should create at least 300-400 jobs.