British miner Cornish Lithium today secured £1m of funding that will allow it to kick-off exploration for the strategic mineral.
Lithium is a key component of higher spec batteries that power everything from laptops to electric cars.
In January, Cornish Lithium reached a mineral rights agreement with Canada's Strongbow Exploration. At the time, it said it would need £5m to extract underground stores of lithium from hot springs.
But the firm's chief executive, Jeremy Wrathall, has subsequently told Reuters that project costs would likely be cheaper and today's £1m will be enough for Cornish Lithium to operate for a year.
In the first instance, the miner will assemble information on lithium occurrences in digital format. This will then prioritise which locations it should drill for samples. Prior to digging, the firm will need to obtain permits from relevant authorities.
Today's investment comes from a trio of experienced miners: former Aquarius Platinum head Keith Liddell, Southern Prospecting director Chris von Christierson and Norweigan billionaire Peter Smedvig.
Strongbow Exploration bought South Crofty, the last tin mine to close in Cornwall in 1998. It will receive royalties from the minerals extracted by Cornish Lithium.
Incoming shareholder Liddell said: “Given the extensive historic readings of lithium in geothermal brines as well as the recent advances in technology, we see a real potential for lithium production in Cornwall.
Combined with the global shift in focus towards electric vehicles and battery energy storage we believe that Cornish Lithium could potentially become a very significant player in the lithium industry in the UK and Europe.