Cornish Lithium, a start-up hoping to lead the development of an industry for the battery metal in the UK, has raised £826,000 ($1.03 million) from shareholders, which it says it will use to expand ongoing drilling work.
The miner says recent exploration activity in the ancient mining region of Cornwall, south-west England, has proved “highly encouraging.”
The company will now plan further phases of drilling in both geothermal waters and in hard rock, to begin as soon as “current conditions allow.”
“Following Brexit, and as the UK moves to reopen its economy after the covid-19 pandemic, the UK Government is focussed on becoming a world leader in battery technology and electric vehicle manufacturing,” said chief executive Jeremy Wrathall.
“It is now apparent that the creation of a battery and electric vehicle industry in the UK is more likely to happen if the nation has a domestic supply of lithium, especially if this lithium can be responsibly sourced with a low-carbon footprint,” Wrathall said.
The timing couldn’t be better. The European Union is currently rebuilding their automotive supply chains around battery metals, and incentivizing the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), Chris Berry, president of House Mountain Partners, an industry consultant, told Bloomberg on Tuesday.
China, which was originally planning to wean customers away from EV subsidies by 2020, recently announced a two-year extension through the end of 2022.
Beijing also made a 10% cut to subsidies this year and also limited the scope of subsidies to EVs costing less than 300,000 yuan ($42,750).
Cornish Lithium has decided to also begin exploring for other battery metals, such as cobalt and copper.
The junior revealed in 2018 that it needed about £5 million ($6.2m) to go ahead with its plans. Since then, it has secured more than £2m ($2.5m) from private backers and it’s already aiming at listing on the London Stock Exchange by 2022.
Cornish Lithium has also expanded and consolidated the areas over which it has rights to explore for lithium and other minerals. Its team has assembled a vast amount of historical data and reconstructed it in 3D digital format, enabling a totally new understanding of the geological potential of Cornwall’s mineral deposits.
Most lithium is produced in South America, Australia and China, but the UK government designated it last year a metal of strategic importance to the country.