Cornish Lithium all set to pioneer the UK’s lithium industry
Significant exploration potential
- Government support
What it owns
Cornish Lithium Ltd has assembled rights to explore for lithium in brines across over 300km of Cornwall, where the battery metal has been found naturally dissolved in saltwater since 1864.
The Cornish mining district is a “world-class mineral province”, with estimated historic production of around £45 billion from tin and £11 billion from copper at current prices.
The company has compiled and digitised various sources of historic data, and made 3D models to evaluate the optimal locations for extraction boreholes to be drilled. An initial drilling programme has been undertaken and the results are now being evaluated.
It is also evaluating the potential in Cornwall for other metals, particularly those which are vital to modern technologies such as electric vehicles and power storage batteries.
How’s it doing?
As for funding, Cornish Lithium blazed a trail as far as the UK mining sector is concerned, raising £1.4mln as of October 2020 in an oversubscribed round via crowdfunding platform Crowdcube.
“We wanted £1mln and we raised £1.4mln,” said the Jeremy Wrathall, chief executive, saying that the company plans to use the cash for further exploration and evaluation work on the Cornish land portfolio.
In addition to this, it’s also received a vote of confidence from the government.
A consortium known as Li4UK, whose members including the Natural History Museum, the specialist geological consultant Wardell Armstrong, and Cornish Lithium itself, recently received £350,000 of government cash to be split between each of the participants according to their responsibilities.
This was part of the Faraday Battery Challenge to advance British interests in the new-generation battery space.
The company was given a further boost in July when it raised just over £826,000 from shareholders which will be used to continue exploration for lithium in Cornwall, in both geothermal waters and in hard rock and will build on the successful drilling programmes that concluded earlier in the year.
READ: With one huge drill hit Cornish Lithium and Strongbow Exploration have proved the continuing prospectivity of Cornwall
The company is also planning further phases of drilling as soon as current conditions allow. Samples from the recent hardrock drilling campaign are currently undergoing metallurgical testing and evaluation in both Cornwall and Australia.
What the boss says: chief executive Jeremy Wrathall
“Following Brexit, and as the UK moves to reopen its economy after the [coronavirus] pandemic, the UK government is focussed on becoming a world leader in battery technology and electric vehicle manufacturing. Given this situation, it is now apparent that the creation of a battery and electric vehicle industry in the UK is more likely to happen if the nation has a domestic supply of lithium, especially if this lithium can be responsibly sourced with a low-carbon footprint. This puts Cornish Lithium in a good position.”