Imerys Acquires 80% Stake in British Lithium

Imerys, a provider of mineral-based specialty solutions, announced the acquisition of an 80% stake in British Lithium, a developer, and operator of mineral resource projects.

British Lithium has been working with Imerys since 2017, drilling and exploring Imerys-owned land in Cornwall and developing a bespoke process and pilot plant to extract lithium from mica, a mineral abundant in the region.

The company has received financial backing from Innovate U.K. and the Automotive Transformation Fund.

The partnership has resulted in the identification of inferred mineral resources of 161 million tons at a grade of 0.54 % lithium oxide, enough to sustain a mine life of more than 30 years at a production rate of 20,000 tons of lithium carbonate equivalent per year. This would meet roughly two-thirds of Britain’s estimated battery demand by 2030, when all U.K. car manufacturers are expected to switch to electric vehicles.

The acquisition will enable Imerys to leverage its existing mining footprint, infrastructure, R&D, and process development capabilities and its lithium expertise developed through its EMILI project in France, which aims to produce lithium hydroxide from geothermal brines.

The U.K. Government has approved the transaction under the National Security Investment Act protocol, as it will contribute to reducing the U.K.’s and Europe’s dependence on critical raw materials imports and achieving their climate change targets. The mine will also follow social and environmental standards and adhere to the IRMA Standard.

Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch said: “This joint venture between Imerys and British Lithium will strengthen our domestic supply of critical minerals, which is vitally important as we seek to grow the U.K.’s advanced manufacturing industry and help create future jobs. This partnership shows again that the U.K. 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 across the U.K.”

According to Mercom’s Q1 2023 Funding and M&A Report for Storage and Smart Grid, Four M&A transactions were recorded in Energy Storage in Q1 2023. In Q4 2022, there were five M&A transactions. YoY, there were five Energy Storage M&A transactions in Q1 2022.