Newcomer Cornish Lithium Limited is hoping to lead the development of a lithium industry in the UK after acquiring the rights to drill for the mineral in the ancient mining region of Cornwall from Canadian junior Strongbow Exploration (TSX-V:SBW).
With the deal, the start-up led by the head of mining research at Investec Plc, Jeremy Wrathall, is undertaking what is believed to be the largest, single unified exploration project in the history of the UK.
Shares in Strongbow skyrocketed on the news and were up more than 7% in Toronto at 10:20AM EST.
“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 focussed on zero emissions and renewable power,” Wrathall said in a statement.
“We believe that this is a hugely exciting opportunity to put Cornwall back on the map as a mining centre as well as develop a new industry in the UK,” he noted.
The region of Cornwall is known for its tin and copper mines, but so far nobody has exploited its lithium, which are mostly found in natural hot underground springs.
Frequently referred to as “white petroleum,” the metal drives much of the modern world, as it has become an irreplaceable component of rechargeable batteries used in high tech devices.
The lithium market, while still relatively small — worth about $1bn a year — is expected to triple in size by 2025, according to analysts at Goldman Sachs.
Cornish Lithium Limited wants to take advantage of that opportunity and says it hopes to secure £5 million (about $6.2m) of investment for exploration work around Camborne, Redruth and St Day.