Skip to content

Cornwall ‘looks to become a global hub for sourcing’ lithium

  • by JW

Cornish Lithium secures funding to open the first mine for lithium in the UK [Guardian] 

And launches a crowdfunding campaign to build a sustainable, battery-grade lithium supply [Business Live]


As we look to greening our technologies, one question being asked is how ‘green’ electric vehicles are:

Demand for the key ingredient in today’s car batteries, the alkali metal lithium, is already sky-high. The world could face shortages of the metal by 2025, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). But the process of collecting lithium brings its own challenges. This mineral resource is concentrated in a handful of places; lithium mining is water-intensive, but more than half of today’s production is in areas where water is scarce. And it needs to be dug out of the ground. The energy for this is usually derived from – guess what? Burning fossil fuels. The electricity grid that charges EVs’ batteries is still largely reliant on fossil fuels, too. Until these fuels are replaced by renewables, EVs will be responsible for harmful emissions.

One way ahead might be ‘sustainable production’ of lithium in the West Country – with its viability growing over the past couple of years and new plans for Cornish Lithium in particular emerging earlier this year.

“An environmentally-sustainable domestic supply of lithium is an essential component of the UK’s transition to renewable energy and the manufacture of electric vehicles, and we were pleased to share our progress with BBC Countryfile for a second time,” explains Mike Round, Head of Geothermal Lithium at Cornish Lithium. “At United Downs and Twelveheads, we demonstrated how we extract lithium from geothermal waters in the most environmentally-responsible way possible and shared the Company’s ambition to contribute to a secure, domestic supply of lithium for the UK, revive Cornwall’s mining heritage and create highly-skilled, well-paid careers for local people.”

Last month, Cornish Lithium secured £53.6m to open the first mine for the metal in Britain and over the last weekend, the company launched a crowdfunding campaign to build a sustainable, battery-grade UK lithium supply.

Here’s a report from ITN from the weekend, looking at “Why Cornwall’s ‘lithium boom’ could be good news for the future of the planet”:

Cornwall’s growing mining industry could be ready to start commercially extracting lithium within the next three years. On Wednesday 13 September a major conference took place in Falmouth, and industry leaders say testing is going well as the county looks to become a global hub for sourcing this precious metal… Bess Mann, from Camborne School of Mines, said: “There’s a lot of potential for critical metals and a lot of resources within our country, so it’s very exciting.”