17 Jan Cornish Lithium wins more funding to ride electric car revolution
Hot water containing lithium has welled up in old Cornish mines
A start-up hoping to extract lithium in Cornwall has secured a further £1m from existing investors as it looks to set up domestic production of the metal used in batteries.
Cornish Lithium closed its latest funding round last month and will put the money towards more drilling on sites across central Cornwall.
It is seeking to extract lithium from hot water brines below the surface that have welled up in the county’s historic mines.
The company will also begin exploring for lithium in hard rock form for the first time, having discovered evidence that it was mined on the surface during World War II.
Research revealed that lithium was produced at a site within the area where Cornish Lithium holds mineral rights. The metal was used in submarine air conditioning systems and to provide the red tint in emergency flares.
Jeremy Wrathall, chief executive, said it was “very early days” but the “exciting development” could pave the way for domestic hard rock production.
He added: “We’ve potentially proved there are deposits of lithium in Cornwall in brine and hard rock.”
The company hopes hoping to benefit from the revolution in electric vehicles, which need lithium in their batteries.
“Europe needs battery metals and it needs sources of battery metals,” Mr Wrathall said. “We’re seeing an unstoppable revolution. I don’t think the market will be in oversupply. Looking out five years ahead there is no way we will be able to survive without new lithium.”
The company’s backers include experienced mining investors such as Chris von Christierson, a former director of Goldfields, and Keith Liddell, a metallurgist and former chief executive of Aquarius Platinum.
It may yet consider a listing on London’s junior Aim market should it move closer to production. It has a staff of 12, including geologists, engineers and metallurgists.