RPT-COLUMN-Cornish lithium dreams may die in South America’s salt lakes – by Andy Home (Reuters U.S. – February 6, 2017)


LONDON, Feb 3 There’s lithium in them there Cornish hills! News that a start-up, Cornish Lithium, is going to explore for the “metal of the future” in Britain’s historic tin-mining region has been greeted with predictable national euphoria.

“Cornwall’s mining industry set for 50bn pound revolution,” proclaimed a headline in The Sun newspaper. Which may be just a little bit premature.

The company, led by Jeremy Wrathall, a graduate of Cornwall’s famous Camborne School of Mines and now a banker with Investec, is currently trying to raise 5 million pounds to start an exploration programme. Any production of lithium is at least five years away.

Finding the lithium is not going to be that difficult. As early as the 19th century Cornish tin miners knew about the lithium-rich spring waters underneath what, thanks to the massively popular television series, is now known as “Poldark Country”.

That’s the thing with lithium. There’s a lot of it around and it’s not just in Cornwall that lithium prospectors are going back down disused mines to find a mineral that had little mainstream commercial use until the invention of the lithium-ion battery.

For the rest of this column, click here: http://www.reuters.com/article/lithium-supply-ahome-idUSL5N1FR1I4