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  • Responsible Raw Materials

Lucy Crane - Building Responsible Supply Chains: an Example from Li4UK

Updated: May 31, 2020

There are myriad opportunities to positively increase the social and environmental impacts of extractive projects, and this in turn can increase their economic viability too. The COVID-19 crisis has sharply thrust the fragility of some international supply chains in to focus, and we are seeing increasing impetus from governments to secure stable and responsible supply chains of critical raw materials. As the world emerges in to whatever the ‘new normal’ looks like post lockdown, there are significant opportunities to rethink what these supply chains look like - from extraction of the raw materials all the way up through to a final product and then recycling. 

In this talk, we’ll look at the challenges and opportunities represented by establishing a secure domestic supply of lithium here in the UK - based on research from the Faraday Battery Challenge funded ‘Lithium 4 UK’ project. From an overview of the different deposit types (lithium enriched geothermal waters and mica minerals) and the various impacts associated with extraction from them, to the challenges of producing battery quality chemicals for use in the UK EV industry - and how this might compare to sourcing them from overseas. In addition, we’ll consider the opportunities that building in a circular economy approach into the supply chain from the start may represent (can we use the black mass from recycled lithium ion batteries as a feedstock alongside primary materials, to produce battery quality chemicals?). 

By carefully considering the impacts at each stage of the supply chain, there is the opportunity to create a much more responsible supply chain for critical raw materials, as well as kick start a primary extraction industry in parts of the UK which would significantly benefit from it. 


Lucy Crane is currently a Senior Geologist at Cornish Lithium and heavily involved the Company’s Business Development and expansion. She holds a degree in Earth Sciences from Oxford University, and a Masters in Mining Geology from the Camborne School of Mines. Lucy is a strong advocate for the standardisation of sustainable and responsible practices in mining, promoting these actions to the wider public, and is passionate about making the industry a more diverse place to work. Her actions in these areas are already being recognised and was awarded the Rising Star Award at Mines & Money (London) in 2019. Her 2019 TEDx talk on ‘Mining our way to a low carbon future’ has been well received.

Cornish Lithium, Tremough Innovation Centre, Penryn, Cornwall TR10 9TA;; 01326 640640

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