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British Lithium Ltd (BLL) has appointed John Walker as Strategic Advisor, effective immediately.

Cornishman John Walker started his career at Imerys in St Austell in 1990. He went on to become general manager of the company’s tableware division in Belgium, before moving to the US and taking charge of Imerys North American Ceramics. In 2011, he joined The Quartz Corp (TQC) and led the implementation of a significant expansion of the company’s production capacity and was subsequently appointed as CEO. TQC is a joint venture between Imerys and Norsk Mineral that supplies high-purity quartz to the solar, semiconductor and optical markets. Over six years in that role, John oversaw TQC’s development from new entrant to a global market leader.

John will draw on his wealth of experience to assist BLL as the company moves towards production, which also includes his role as Chairman of Exawatt, a provider of strategic consulting and research in the battery, power electronics, electric vehicle and solar photovoltaic (PV) industries. 

“We’re delighted to welcome John to our team,” said BLL Chief Executive Andrew Smith. “He has enormous expertise in our sector, knows Cornwall well and has the knowledge and contacts we need to help BLL progress from meticulous analysis and economic feasibility to operational status within the next three years.”

As the first company in the UK to explore for hard rock lithium and the only one so far to have established a resource, Roche-based BLL was recently awarded a £500,000 Innovate UK Smart Grant from the Government.

“I’m delighted to be working with BLL at such a milestone moment in their development,” said John. “Over the last three years, BLL has been quietly getting on with the job of testing a unique process for extracting lithium from micaceous granite. There is no battery-grade lithium production anywhere in Europe and the advantages of establishing an operation capable of producing 20,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate in Cornwall are huge – not just for the local community but for the whole of the UK. That’s why BLL’s plans are attracting so much investment interest at national and international level and why I’m passionate about being involved in what I regard as an unfolding story of technological and metallurgical success.”

Lithium is a highly reactive and relatively light metal that is ideal for use in batteries – including those that power electric cars. Whilst 2020 has seen a dramatic decrease in the number of petrol and diesel cars sold, sales of zero-emission vehicles increased by nearly 160 per cent. Cars represent the UK’s largest export by value and car manufacturers co-locate with battery makers. A number of large lithium-ion battery plants are already under construction in Europe, with two gigafactories being proposed for the UK.

For more information about BLL, visit www.britishlithium.co.uk