A domestic source of lithium could be in sight for the UK. On Monday (August 14), Cornish Lithium announced plans to use a $1.3-million investment to explore for lithium in Cornwall, the only region known to have reserves of the mineral in the country.
The privately owned company will use the money to find out where best to drill and sample for lithium, said CEO Jeremy Wrathall, a former Investec banker. Demand for the metal continues to surge due to the rise in electric car sales.
“There is a lot of excitement in the technical world about this,” he said. “We hope to be the domestic source of lithium for the UK.”
Three investors are backing the project: Keith Liddell, a former chief executive at Aquarius Platinum; Chris von Christierson, a director at Southern Prospecting; and Peter Smedvig, a private investor.
“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,” Liddell said.
Cornish Lithium expects the money it has raised to last for at least one year. After that period, the company will look for further funding for its drilling program, possibly through a listing on London’s junior AIM market.
“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,” he added.
Lithium is currently produced mainly in South America, Australia and China, with little supply in Europe. But the UK government has highlighted lithium as a metal that is of strategic importance to the country.
Last month, the UK outlined plans to ban all sales of fossil fuel cars by 2040, another sign that the electric car revolution is happening faster than expected. In fact, Bloomberg New Energy Finance analysts see the proportion of fully electric cars sold in the UK rising to one in 12 by 2030, from one in 200 today.
That said, production at Cornish Lithium’s project is at least five years away. Despite high demand for the metal, ramping up to production is a time-consuming process.
In addition to its lithium project, Cornish Lithium has a mineral rights agreement with Canada’s Strongbow Exploration (TSXV:SBW), which bought the South Crofty tin mine in Pool in 1998. Strongbow will get royalties from any lithium extracted by Cornish Lithium.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Priscila Barrera, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
Editorial Disclosure: Strongbow Exploration is a client of the Investing News Network. This article is not paid-for content.