Nusrat Ghani MP, Minister for Industry and Economic Security, visited Imerys British Lithium’s pilot plant near Roche in mid-Cornwall this week. Minister Ghani was joined by Steve Double, MP for St Austell and Newquay, and Matt Hatfield, Head of Critical Minerals and Mining, DBT. 

Minister Ghani said of the project and site visit: 

“The South-west has a proud and productive mining history and heritage dating back to the Bronze Age and was the world-centre for the industry in the 18th century. I am absolutely delighted to see for myself how we are building on this wealth of expertise and promoting the South-west as a world-class mining and mineral hub, boosting jobs, growth and levelling-up both here and across the UK. 

“By 2040 , the world will need four times more critical minerals like lithium than it does today. It is vital we secure them to improve supply chain resilience, supporting both our economy today and prosperity in the future.” 

Steve Double, MP for St Austell and Newquay added: 

“Lithium extraction presents a huge opportunity for Cornwall to create new, well paid jobs and grow our local economy. I was delighted to bring Minister of State for

Industry and Economic Security Nusrat Ghani to see Imerys British Lithium and meet the team who are developing this project. I will continue to work with Imerys British Lithium and the Government to help realise this exciting project.” 

The IBL team is currently completing a pre-feasibility study with the goal of producing over 20,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate – every year – before the end of the decade. That’s enough for 500,000 car batteries a year – every year – for approx 30 years. The project will provide at least 300 direct jobs for an area with a rich mining heritage stretching back centuries. 

Mark Hewson, Imerys UK and Imerys British Lithium Director, said: 

“We are honoured to host this Ministerial visit, and we sincerely thank Minister Ghani and her team for spending time with us today. 

“Government support has been and is critical in moving our project forward successfully.” 

Alan Parte, Imerys Lithium Projects VP and Imerys British Lithium CEO, continues: 

“We look forward to completing our pre-feasibility study this year and moving into the planning phase in 2025, working closely with the Department for Business and Trade, the Office for Investment, and our local MP to deliver this unique project that aims to contribute to the UK’s energy transition and the development of an integrated EV value chain.” 

Imerys British Lithium plans to build the world’s first integrated lithium quarry and production plant – on land previously used for clay extraction. Those interested in learning more about the plans should drop into one of the events listed below. 

An expert team will be available – encompassing planning, geology, processing, and management. They will present plans and use feedback gathered to shape the planning application, which will be submitted next year.

Dates and locations for public consultations: 

● Bugle Village Hall on 25 March 

● Penwithick Community Centre on 18 June 

● Treverbyn Community Hall on 31 July 

● Trewoon Village Hall on 21 August 

● St Dennis on 11 September 

● St Stephen on 23 October 

● Fraddon on 4 December 

For more information, visit or email