The UK could receive a major economic boost after it emerged there is an abundance of lithium in Cornwall, it has been claimed.
The material, a key component in the batteries used to power electric vehicles, is said to be available in the south-west.
Jeremy Wrathall, the chief executive of Cornish Lithium, a British eco-technology company focused on mineral exploration and the development of lithium resources, has told the Express that major electric car manufacturers such as Tesla could make their way over.
It comes amid a drive to end the sale of standard petrol and diesel-engined vehicles by the end of the decade.
However, in 2019, Elon Musk, the boss of Tesla, snubbed Britain by striking a deal with Germany to build Europe’s first Tesla gigafactory.
Mr Musk blamed uncertainties over Brexit as the reason for picking Berlin over Britain, saying that Brexit made it “too risky” to set up its European gigafactory in the UK.
Speaking to the Express, Mr Wrathall said: “I think that anything’s possible. If we’ve got the battery raw material, which are sustainable and environmentally friendly, why wouldn’t other car manufacturers come to the UK?
“Whether it Tesla, or Korean car companies, or anyone, why wouldn’t they come to the UK if they can guarantee that the minerals are in the UK and they are sustainable?
“I think that the Government recognises that if you build the battery materials infrastructure and raw materials supply chain, the battery manufactures and automakers will come to the UK.”
Mr Wrathall believes that without UK-based lithium, the country would be entirely reliant on imports, and dependent on China, which controls massive portions of the electric batteries market.
He said: “Given that China controls roughly 80 percent of the battery chemicals market, we would be dependent on imports from China or elsewhere.”
He added: “Therefore it is very difficult for the automotive industry to flourish under that scenario.
“Lithium is going to make a huge difference to our economy. We are pioneering the development of extracting lithium from the rocks in Cornwall.”
Recently, Britishvolt, a business startup, received £2.5 billion in investment to produce its electric vehicle batteries in Northumberland.
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