Lithium plant under discussion in UK county

Lithium plant under discussion in UK county

Community Consultation for Weardale Lithium Project

Residents in County Durham will have the opportunity to voice their opinions on the proposed lithium extraction pilot plant by Weardale Lithium. The public consultation event is a precursor to the company’s planning permission application. The initiative focuses on using direct lithium extraction (DLE) technologies to derive lithium from geothermal groundwater in Weardale, located at the brownfield site of the former Eastgate cement works near Stanhope.

Infrastructure and Job Creation

The proposed facility plans to utilize existing high-specification wells for water extraction, with pipelines transporting the water to avoid frequent tanker traffic on minor roads. Lithium, vital for electric vehicle batteries, currently lacks commercial production in the UK and Europe. The pilot plant is expected to generate 20 to 50 jobs onsite, with additional employment opportunities in local construction and supply chains. Scaling up to full commercial production might yield about 10,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate annually, creating approximately 125 jobs and contributing an estimated £1 billion in gross economic value to the region.

Project Components and Public Engagement

The project includes two existing groundwater abstraction wells, a new buried pipeline, a gantry over the River Wear, and the construction of the lithium processing plant. Stewart Dickson, CEO of Weardale Lithium, emphasized the importance of community engagement in realizing a project that promises job creation and economic growth while supporting the UK’s net zero strategy.

Residents can learn more and share their views at the public drop-in exhibition at Eastgate Community Centre on November 23rd or participate in an online survey.

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