Exploration at a UK lithium mine is expected to begin within two years after a former mining student signed a mineral grants agreement.
UK company Cornish Lithium, headed by Jeremy Wrathall, has reached a mineral rights agreement with Canada’s Strongbow Exploration to explore for lithium in Cornwall.
The two companies are expected to start exploring for lithium in the next 18 months to two years with drilling expected after that.
A spokesman for the project told BBB it was too early to predict the quantity, or time-scale of bringing UK sourced lithium to market.
Lithium deposits were first identified in Cornwall in the mid-1800s, but its only now, with the rapidly growing lithium-ion battery market, that its makes financial sense to explore the mine’s potential.
The lithium is thought to be present in hot spring brines created from lithium containing granite. These springs would be tapped, similar to oil mines, at up to 800 metres deep.
Cornwall Lithium has secured rights to the geothermal energy contained in these hot spring brines. The energy could be used as a power source to reduce processing costs, but also may be used for other industries in the region.
Cornish Lithium’s next step is to gain around £5million funding the company believes it will cost to carry out the exploration phase.
It’s perhaps a little premature to think the county will enjoy a mining renaissance but Cornish Lithium’s CEO Wrathall might be the man to breath life into the industry.
As well as being head of natural resources at London bank Investec he is a mining engineer graduate from Camborne School of Mines in Cornwall.
Wrathall said the rights secured covered key areas of interest based on historic recordings of lithium in springs, which allowed the company to identify potential sites for commercial extraction facilities.
He said: “Cornish Lithium has been set up to explore the potential for a lithium industry in the UK; which would give the country significant strategic advantages in a world increasingly focused on zero emissions and renewable power.
“We believe the potential benefits of developing a lithium industry in Cornwall will be significant for the county and for the UK as a whole.”
As well as Strongbow Exploration, Cornwall Lithium has signed agreements with Mineral Exploration Limited and Tregothnan Estates.