Imerys aims to produce around 20,0000 tonnes a year of lithium carbonate equivalent by the end of the decade at its mining site in Cornwall, southwest England, in partnership with British Lithium.
That would be enough to supply some 500,000 EVs by 2030, it said.
Global lithium demand is forecast to surge by around three-quarters between 2022 and 2025, helped by governments and industrial companies positioning to secure supply of battery materials as they promote EVs as a way of curbing emissions.
Imerys’ UK development, and its previously announced plan to mine the metal in central France, would reduce Europe’s current reliance on imported lithium for batteries, CEO Alessandro Dazza said.
“This project will change the picture,” he said on a call with reporters.
Most known lithium resources are located outside Europe, including in a so-called lithium triangle spanning Argentina, Bolivia and Chile. But Imerys says it has confirmed large deposits beneath its longstanding kaolin mines in Britain and France.