Tuesday 13 October 2020 5:00 pm

Cornish Lithium fundraise smashes £4m as Poldark spirit lives on

A new lithium project in the south-west has attracted more than £4m in investment over the last 24 hours, smashing its target of a £1.5m raise.

Cornish Lithium opened up to pre-registered investors yesterday and nearly doubled its original target within three hours.

Read more: Lithium firm makes ‘globally significant’ find in Cornwall

The firm, which is based near Redruth in England’s westernmost county, then opened the funding round to the public this morning.

Currently, 2616 investors have chipped in to raise £4.08m, 270 per cent more than the firm had originally aimed for.

Investors flocked to the firm just weeks after it announced a “globally significant” find of the precious metal in what could be a game-changing discovery for UK battery technology.

The find also raised hopes of a new industrial boom in the county, the mining heritage of which is perhaps best known through Sunday night smash hit Poldark.

Founder and chief exec Jeremy Wrathall said: “We are raising additional funding at this time to continue towards our goal of creating a battery metals hub for the UK. 

“The success of our recent exploration, and Government funding for our pilot plant, gives the Company the opportunity to accelerate its efforts towards commercial production and the creation of an environmentally-responsible lithium industry in Cornwall.”

The firm is undertaking two methods of extraction: one looking to extract the metal from brine and another granite drilling project.

He told City A.M. that the size of the raise meant the firm would be able to pursue a number of extra projects, including drilling extra wells for brine extraction near Camborne and St Austell.

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He also said that the additional funding meant the firm could push ahead with a pilot plant for processing metal found in granite deposits.

The new plant would be on top of a £4m facility for brine extraction which is already being part funded by the government.

Between them, he said that the factories could employ hundreds of people in an area struggling with unemployment.

Around 30,000 people used to work in mining in St Austell alone, before the mines shut in the 1980s.

“We are proud custodians of one of Cornwall’s greatest traditions and we are acutely aware of our responsibility”, Wrathall told City A.M. .

“Cornwall can’t be a museum. That heritage must be preserved and enhanced. It has to be a working place where modern minerals are extracted responsibly.”

The company is currently deciding when to close its current funding round, which is being held on Crowdcube.

Lithium is an essential element in making batteries for electric vehicles, which are expected to supplant the conventional combustion-engine powered car as the world seeks to transition away from a carbon-heavy industry.

At the moment, the battery supply chain is dominated by China, which is the world’s largest producer of the rare metal.

Energy research organisation the Faraday Institute has said the country will need about 60,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate by 2035, when the sale of new diesel cars will be banned.

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Wrathall said that the company would be able to provide a “significant portion” of that demand.

Speaking to City A.M., Wrathall confirmed that the company was mulling a London listing in the next two years.