Cornish Lithium (earlier post), a mineral exploration and development company based in Cornwall, UK, secured an investment package of up to £18 million (US$24 million) from TechMet Limited, a leading technology metals investment company.
Cornish Lithium said that securing long-term investment from TechMet is a significant step forward that allows it to accelerate its activities towards creating a domestic supply of lithium and other battery metals for the UK.
The investment is the first that Cornish Lithium has secured from a financial institution. Cornish Lithium expects to benefit from TechMet’s deep knowledge of the battery metals supply chain and extensive commercial and strategic relationships.
The investment will occur in two tranches: The first tranche of £9 million (US$12 million) to be invested upon receipt of shareholder approval and the second tranche of £9 million will be invested, at the option of TechMet, following the delivery of the Scoping Study for the Trelavour Hard Rock Project, which is on track for completion in Q2 2022.
The company will use the proceeds from the investment to progress both its hard rock and geothermal work streams and is expected to provide sufficient working capital to fund its development plans to at least the end of 2022.
Cornwall is underlain by a mass of granite—the Cornubian batholith. This granite is one of five large-scale bulk lithium-enriched granites worldwide (as mapped and highlighted by the USGS). In Cornwall, lithium is contained within mica minerals (zinnwaldite and lepidolite). Some Cornish granite is more highly enriched in lithium than others, and the company is investigating the potential to produce lithium from such highly enriched granite at its Trelavour hard rock project.
The granite is also rich in heat. This means there is significant potential for lithium-enriched geothermal waters across the region. These waters can be accessed via boreholes drilled from the surface in to permeable geological faults at depth. Once the waters have been pumped to the surface, it is possible to extract selectively the lithium compounds using environmentally responsible Direct Lithium Extraction (DLE) technologies.
By utilizing geothermal energy to power this extraction, there is the opportunity to produce zero-carbon lithium. Cornish Lithium aims to produce battery-quality zero-carbon lithium chemicals directly from the geothermal waters.
With regard to Cornish Lithium’s exploration plans for lithium contained in geothermal waters, the funding will enable the company to drill and evaluate additional sites, further demonstrating the regional potential in Cornwall. In addition, the Company will explore opportunities to generate complimentary commercial heat supplies in order to provide local businesses with low carbon energy.
Source: Cornish Lithium
The funding will also enable further research into DLE and refining technologies to optimize the recovery of lithium in a cost-effective and sustainable manner.
In relation to the Trelavour Project, the proceeds will enable Cornish Lithium to complete several key workstreams. Following completion of the scoping study, the company intends to construct a demonstration scale beneficiation and hydrometallurgical plant in order to refine further the metallurgical extraction process, which will ultimately inform the design of a commercial production plant.
The company now expects to have sufficient funding to complete a feasibility study on the Trelavour Project which the company would use to obtain the necessary debt and equity finance to enable project construction.
TechMet was founded in 2017 by British/South African metals industrialist Brian Menell, with the aim of developing assets that produce metals for which global demand is expected to vastly outweigh supply as the world moves to clean energy technologies. Its assets include Li-Cycle Corp (North America’s largest lithium-ion battery recycling company listed on the NYSE); Brazilian Nickel (a mining and extraction company developing production of nickel and cobalt suitable for EV batteries); US Vanadium (which produces vanadium products suitable for redox flow batteries); and Tinco (a portfolio of producing tin and tungsten mines).
TechMet’s largest shareholders include Lansdowne Partners (one of London’s foremost asset managers); the US International Development Finance Corporation (the US Government’s development finance institution); and Mercuria (the global energy and commodity trading company) together with TechMet Chairman and CEO, Brian Menell.