Cornwall lithium mining project boosted

Posted on 08 Sep 2017 and read 909 times
Cornwall lithium mining project boostedA project to look for lithium in hot springs in Cornwall has received a £1 million investment.

The global demand for this soft silvery-white alkali metal — used in batteries for mobile phones and cars — is expected to triple in the next decade.

Indeed, one of the investors said Cornish Lithium could become a “very significant player” in the industry.

CEO Jeremy Wrathall (pictured) said that the county is the only known source of lithium in the UK and that the company is collecting data to “prioritise the best locations for subsequent drilling and sampling.

“There is a lot of excitement in the technical world about this venture, and we hope to be the domestic source of lithium for the UK, although production is at least five years away.”

The investors are Peter Smedvig (founder of investment firm Smedvig Capital), Keith Liddell (a metallurgical engineer and former mining CEO), and Chris von Christierson (a director and principal of mining firm Southern Prospecting).

High levels of lithium were identified in the water in Cornish mines in the 19th century, but there was no market for the metal at that time.

The Government’s plans to ban new petrol and diesel cars from 2040 raise the prospect of a huge increase in demand for lithium.

In January, Cornish Lithium said it had reached a mineral rights agreement with Canada’s Strongbow Exploration, which bought the South Crofty tin mine in 1998 (Strongbow will get royalties from any lithium extracted by Cornish Lithium).

The metal would be extracted by drilling at least 400m (1,300ft) into rock and pumping out lithium-laden water. Most of the world’s lithium is produced in South America, Australia and China, but the UK government has earmarked
it as a metal of strategic importance to the country.

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