British mining company Cornish Lithium is gearing up to drill its first exploration holes to test whether it is possible to exploit lithium from geothermal waters that occur naturally and circulate beneath historic mine workings in Cornwall.
The company has successfully raised £1.4-million in crowdfunding, welcoming 1 200 new investors, and is now preparing to proceed with drilling this month.
The holes will be drilled into prospective areas where geothermal waters are believed to exist, at depths of 800 m to 1 000 m.
In a company update, released on Wednesday, Cornish Lithium also detailed its other plans and said it would accelerate its desktop approach to explore for other battery metals in Cornwall.
The company would use computing technology to analyse historic mining records from the region’s mining past, which dates back to the Roman times or earlier.
Further, Cornish Lithium would investigate the possibility of combining geothermal energy and lithium extraction.
Geothermal Engineering Limited (GEL) had recently drilled two deep geothermal holes at United Downs near Redruth – a production hole 5 275 m deep and an injection hole 2 393 m deep – both of which targeted a similar geological structure to those targeted by Cornish Lithium.
Cornish Lithium explained that holes would allow GEL to generate electrical power using a turbine on surface, given the high temperature geothermal waters that existed at depth.
“The development of direct lithium extraction technologies means that lithium can be extracted directly from geothermal waters in an environmentally responsible manner and, with these geothermal developments on the company’s doorstep, the company plans to evaluate the potential for combining lithium extraction with geothermal energy, given the low carbon footprint that this combination allows.”
The lithium hopeful would also continue to evaluate the potential for lithium extraction from hard-rock sources in Cornwall, particularly in an area where a lithium mine is understood to have operated during World War II.