02 Oct S&P Global Article
Developer Cornish Lithium has completed a GBP1.4 million ($1.7 million) fund raise via Crowdcube, in a bid to make a sustainable lithium supply chain in the UK, the company said Wednesday.
Skirting traditional avenues for raising investment cash, Cornish Lithium has enlisted 1,200 new stakeholders via the crowdfunding platform. Many of them are based in Cornwall.
The move is believed to be the first successful crowdfunding campaign by a British mineral exploration company, offering a role in securing strategic UK mineral supplies.
CEO Jeremy Wrathall said: “We continue to believe that Cornwall holds significant potential to supply UK industry with the lithium needed to build electric cars and power storage batteries. This will enable the carbon footprint of batteries assembled in the UK to be minimised given that the necessary raw materials will not have to be imported from thousands of miles away.”
“Domestic production of lithium and other battery metals would also reduce the dependency of the UK economy on imports and has the potential to create significant employment in Cornwall,” the CEO said.
The money will fund the company’s first exploration drill holes targeting lithium in geothermal waters deep beneath the surface in Cornwall. It plans to investigate the possibility of combining geothermal energy and lithium extraction.
Cornwall Lithium is a member of the “Li4UK” consortium, funded by Innovate UK through the Faraday Battery Challenge, which aims to evaluate the possibility of establishing a domestic supply of lithium for UK industry.
“The project shows Government recognition of the need to develop a secure, domestic supply of the raw materials for the battery industry, to help fuel the electric car revolution and decarbonise the economy,” the statement said.
Last week the UK’s opposition Labour Party pledged to invest £1.8 billion in collaboration with private investors, to build three factories to produce electric batteries, in Stoke, Swindon and South Wales, and would invest £500 million in four reprocessing plants to reprocess cobalt and other minerals used in battery production.
“This will tackle the detrimental environmental and human rights impacts associated with battery production, reduce imports of raw materials and create new UK supply chains,” a statement said.
Its goal is to use government intervention to rapidly decarbonize the UK economy, and develop an industrial strategy that includes public ownership of water and energy, to make sure the technologies of the future are manufactured and assembled in the UK.