Cornish Lithium, a start-up hoping to lead the development of an industry for the battery metal in the UK, became on Friday the first British miner to launch a crowdfunding campaign to finance its hunt for the commodity in the ancient mining region of Cornwall, in south-west England.
The company is seeking to raise £1m on the Crowdcube platform to support further drilling for subterranean hot-water brines, from which it hopes to extract lithium, a key ingredient in the batteries that power electric cars and high-tech devices.
It is also scoping out hard-rock lithium deposits in the county, having discovered evidence that it was mined on the surface during World War II.
A year ago, the company said it needed about £5 million ($6.3m) to go ahead with its plans. Since then, it has secured £2m from private backers.
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.
Jeremy Wrathall, the company’s boss and former head of mining research at Investec Plc, has repeatedly said he believed his company has undertaken the largest, single unified exploration project in the history of the UK.
Crowdcube is the world’s first and largest equity crowd funding platform. Earlier this week, it reported a “record breaking” second quarter performance as revenue topped £1.9 million for the first time, up 31% compared to 2018.
Most lithium is produced in South America, Australia and China, but the UK government has recently designated it as a metal of strategic importance to the country.