Company Cornish Lithium has announced that it has secured £1 million in funding from incoming shareholders that include Keith Liddell of Aquarius Platinum, Chris von Christierson of Southern Prospecting and Peter Smedvig, who invests in various small businesses each year around the world.
The funds will mean the company is now able to start exploring on the ground in Cornwall, with the initial focus firmly on collecting all relevant data regarding the occurrences of lithium in the county.
Both surface and underground data will be integrated so as to determine which locations would be best for drilling and sampling. Once the drill sites have been prioritised, Cornish Lithium will apply for the required permits before drill testing can be carried out.
“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. 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,” Mr Liddell said.
Cornwall is a particularly mineral-rich region in the south-west of the UK and historical records do show that there is lithium to be found in the county’s underground hot springs. Earlier this year, Rebecca Gordon of consultancy CRU explained that the supply of this particular mineral is expected to outweigh demand from as early as 2018, driven by huge growth in battery demand.
According to Platts, Ms Gordon told a Minor Metals Trade Association meeting back in April that new lithium supply is predicted to match demand by next year, hitting a peak of 25 per cent of total supply come the year 2022.
The electric car market is a huge player in this surging interest in lithium. Tesla, for example, recently said it will hit total production by next year and will produce more lithium-ion batteries in that time than were produced globally in 2013. The news source went on to note that the production of electric cars is to be around 500,000 cars a year by the end of the decade – and Tesla by itself will need all of the current lithium production.
As such, it appears vital that companies like Cornish Lithium take steps to explore areas where the mineral is likely to be found so supply can meet demand well into the future. The presence of lithium in Cornwall has been known since the middle of the 1800s but there was no market for the metal back then.
It’s thought that Cornwall is particularly rich in lithium in these springs because of the interaction between the granite found beneath the ground and the highly saline water sourced from a nearby sedimentary basin.
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