London – 10 January 2024: Women in Mining UK 2023 Summer Internship at Green Lithium– Helen Underwood
Written by: Helen Underwood
I undertook my internship with Green Lithium in the summer between the third and fourth years of my Earth Science Integrated masters at the University of Oxford. The internship was remote and lasted nine weeks.
Green Lithium is a UK based company that is aiming to build the first lithium hydroxide refinery in the UK and in Europe. The refinery will be based at a site in Tee-side and will hopefully be operational in 2025. Green Lithium is a small company with roughly 20 employees, creating a very tight nit community, enabling me to work across the company in various departments.
The internship involved a wide variety of interesting and challenging tasks such as literature reviews and market research. This was incredibly rewarding and gave me a lot of confidence in my own abilities, as well as the confidence to ask for help when I found something challenging. Green lithium has a very small but incredibly kind and supportive team.
Throughout my internship I worked mostly on literature reviews and research surrounding their ‘co-product’. Lithium refining produces a large amount of waste from the use of the raw material/mineral, spodumene. Green Lithium is very dedicated to ensuring lithium processing is managed in the most responsible way possible and are therefore keen to find a use for the waste. This will be termed as their ‘co-product’. My task was to assess the current knowledge and applications of the ‘co-product’. This information was then passed onto a team at Sheffield University, who are researching the properties of the product. I also completed market research to understand the applications of the ‘co-product’ across a variety of industries. This was a challenging piece as it was very outside my comfort zone, however allowed me to develop my research and report writing skills.
I also performed internal reviews of risk management across the company. This involved setting up internal meetings with everyone in the company and leading the process. My confidence in public speaking was greatly improved. Having come from a background with little to know experience of business, a lot of the work was very new to me. I was provided with guidance during the reviews and now feel I have a better understanding of how large refinery businesses operate, and how to manage such a large and complex project.
During my time with Green Lithium, I was invited to the offices in Teesside, here I sat in on their quarterly meeting and even had the chance to join their team building walk up Rosebery toppings. I am very grateful to Green Lithium for being so welcoming, helpful and for also treating me with a lot of respect, I really felt like part of the team and I am excited to follow the progression of the company.