15 Aug Dream of lithium fueled boom time for Cornwall takes step closer to reality
Lithium extraction could be a major new industry in Cornwall
Dreams of a new boom time for Cornwall have taken a step closer to reality after a £l million investment was unveiled to explore for a precious metal dubbed White Petroleum.
The firm Cornish Lithium has revealed the substantial cash Injection which will help locate the best drill sites for the metal which is a vital component in rechargeable batteries used in everything from mobile phones to cars.
Chief executive and founder, Camborne School of Mines graduate Jeremy Wrathall. said it was great news.
“We are delighted to have secured this investment to commence our exploration programme,” he said.
“We look forward to working with our new shareholders given the wealth of experience they have to offer in the field of natural resources.”
The discovery of vast reserves of lithium deep under the Cornish landscape has been predicted as a game changer for the county’s economy.
It has been estimated that the deposits could put Cornwall at the forefront of a £70billion industrial revolution after Cornish Lithium secured the rights to undertake the largest single, unified exploration county in the county.
Lithium is the wonder metal of the future and a vital part of an industry that is expected to spiral, namely batteries for electric cars such as the Tesla, pictured below.
The number of electric cars In the world passed the 2m mark last year and the International Energy Agency estimates there will be 140m electric cars globally by 2030.
British and French governments last month committed to outlaw the sale of petrol- and diesel-powered cars by 2040, and carmaker Volvo pledged to only sell electric or hybrid vehicles from 2019.
At the same time, prices for lithium carbonate. used in the cathode of a battery, have more than doubled since 2015 and there are continuing concerns about scarcity of the metal.
This means that Cornwall could be home to one of Europe’s biggest sources of a valuable, in demand and diminishing resource.
Lithium is extracted from the brine sluicing through Cornwall’s granite geology and extracting it is not mining in the classic sense of literally digging out rocks. but involves drilling bore holes up of kilometre or more into the earth.
The hot brine then rises under its own pressure from which the lithium is extracted at adjacent plants described as being no bigger than a medium sized supermarket.
The funds raised by Cornish Lithium will enable it to start exploration activities on the ground in Cornwall.
The initial focus will be to collate all relevant data on lithium occurrences in Cornwall in digital format. The company intends to integrate surface and underground data in order to prioritise the best locations for subsequent drilling and sampling.
The exploration is expected to include further geophysical surveys where possible. Once drill sites have been selected the company intends to apply for the necessary permits ahead of drill testing of suitable targets.
Keith Liddell, a member of the incoming shareholder group, said he was very excited by it all.
“Given the extensive historic readings of lithium in geothermal brines as well as the recent advances in technology, we see a real potential for lithium production in Cornwall: he said.
“Combined with the global shift in focus towards electric vehicles and battery energy storage we believe that Cornish Lithium could potentially become a very significant player in the lithium industry in the UK and Europe.
“We look forward to working with the team In progressing this exciting project through Its exploration and development phases.”