Planning permission has been granted for the first large-scale lithium refinery in the UK.
Green Lithium, the firm behind the Teesside plans, says more than 1,000 jobs will be created in construction of the plant.
Lithium is a material used for creation of batteries for electric vehicles.
The firm says it will create enough lithium to provide more than 1 million EV car batteries per year and reduce reliance on imports from China.
It also says the process will be 75% less carbon intensive than current processes.
Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council have granted the permit for the 58-acre site within the PD Ports Teesport complex.
It is expected to start operations in 2027, with annual production capacity of 50,000 tonnes of battery-grade lithium chemicals.
Alongside construction jobs, Green Lithium says the refinery will have 250 full-time highly skilled jobs once operational.
Site construction manager Charlie Tasker says it represents a “major milestone in the Green Lithium development programme”.
“It sets the parameters for the design of the project and it allows us to start planning for the construction.
“This project for the local community means a major investment in the Middlesborough area.
“It is in the order of £1bn worth of investment we intend to make over the development of the project and it will mean up to 1,200 construction jobs at peak and up to 250 permanent jobs on site when the plant is commissioned.”
Business minister Nusrat Ghani hailed the milestone, saying a secure supply of lithium “will be critical for our automotive and green energy industries”.
“Green Lithium’s plans for a refinery in Teesside highlight the UK as a strategic location for refining and midstream manufacturing, reinforcing the UK as a leading player in the global race for critical minerals.”
Green Lithium has secured £13m of funding to date and is currently raising further capital.