Cornwall could become EU’s essential source of key raw material

CORNWALL is poised to become a crucial source of lithium which the European Union will rely on to power much-vaunted renewable energy ambitions, a new report has indicated.

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And Jeremy Wrathall, the founder and CEO of Cornish Ltd, has said the rich seam of the also can also further Boris Johnson’s post- Global Britain ambitions. Pro-Brexit think tank Facts4EU’s report points out that, despite a worldwide scarcity, it is found in the English county.

Cornish Lithium Ltd has secured extensive mineral rights agreements across more than 500 square kilometres of Cornwall, with a view to begin commercial drilling operations in 2024.

Two months ago the Company announced it had successfully completed the construction of a Geothermal Water Test Site in Cornwall, as well as installing its first demonstration plant to trial environmentally responsible Direct Lithium Extraction (‘DLE’) process technologies.

Lithium is a crucial component in batteries for electric cars, among many other practical applications.

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson’s Global Britain vision could get a boost from Cornish lithium mining (Image: GETTY)

Lithium

Lithium is crucial for batteries which power electric cars (Image: GETTY)

Facts4EU’s report explains: “It is therefore far ahead of any exploratory moves by the Chinese in Afghanistan, where any form of mining is fraught with difficulties.

“It remains to be seen, but could Cornwall become the EU’s essential source of a key raw material in the technology needed for the EU Commission’s No.1 priority: tackling climate change?”

Mr Wrathall told Express.co.uk: “Cornwall has the potential to host a large source of lithium, critical for the development of the UK’s green economy.

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US President Joe Biden

US President Joe Biden is under pressure over the Afghanistan situation (Image: GETTY)

“This comes at a time when Britain seeks to be a world leader in electric vehicles and the energy transition and it is therefore vital that we seek to develop a secure, domestic source of lithium, in a low carbon and environmentally responsible manner.”

He added: “We have made strong progress at our lithium brine testing facility at United Downs in Cornwall.

“Our work shows that Cornwall hosts globally significant lithium grades and we are currently building a lithium extraction pilot plant, which is being part funded by the UK government’s Getting Building Fund.

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Lithium mining USA

Lithium mining in the USA (Image: GETTY)

Cornwall

Cornwall, in the West Country (Image: GETTY)

“This will be completed by the end of March 2022 and will enable us to demonstrate what modern, low-carbon mineral extraction looks like as well as demonstrating the viability of direct lithium extraction technology on Cornish geothermal waters.”

Additionally, the company’s hard rock Trelavour project, had already produced nominal battery grade lithium hydroxide using what are known as Lepidico technologies, which Cornish Lithium Ltd has since acquired a licence for.

Mr Wrathall added: “We believe Cornish Lithium is set to play a significant role in establishing a crucial lithium domestic supply chain for the EV industry.

Lithium batteries

Lithium batteries (Image: GETTY)

“This will not only boost the regional and national economy as the UK transitions to net zero-carbon, but it will also position Cornwall at the heart of the green industrial revolution, continuing a proud 4,000-year history of mineral extraction and innovation.”

The issue is a particularly topical one given Joe Biden’s decision to pull out of Afghanistan has cleared the way for China to mine lithium resources estimated to be worth as much as $3trillion – a point also highlighted in Facts4EU’s report.

Speaking to Express.co.uk earlier this week, Facts4EU’s chairman Leigh Evans said: “There’s no doubt from Facts4EU.Org’s research for this report that mining for these essential metals in Afghanistan would not be easy.

Britain's Green revolution

Britain’s Green revolution (Image: GETTY)

“Apart from anything else, mining requires power and water and neither of these are in abundant supply where the precious deposits are located, from what we understand.

“That said, China is known for playing a long game and it would not be buying up these mining rights for no reason.”

He added: “It is already well-documented that the heroin poppy trade in Afghanistan is cynically used to fund Taliban activities.

“Mining rights payments and subsequent royalties from the Chinese could prove a massive bonus to the new regime.”

William Murphy

William Murphy

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