As the world shifts towards a greener lifestyle, identifying and responsibly extracting metals from batteries will become essential to fuel the energy demands of the future. The need for base and high-tech metals is expected to increase dramatically in the near future. Reports show that lithium demand is expected to increase by 400% over the next 6 years, and after 7 years of high prices in 2020, copper is expected to experience a supply shortfall of 327,000 t in 2022.
Cornwall’s natural environment is one of the most mineralized areas in the UK. There is an abundance of high quality lithium, tin, copper and tungsten ready for mining. This, coupled with world-class kaolin operations and long-standing expertise in mining, quarrying and mineral processing, makes Cornwall a prime location for exploration and extraction. of technological metals to meet the growing global demand for decarbonization. This is why the Department of International Trade has identified Cornwall’s mining sector as an investment opportunity with high potential.
Cornwall has the potential to provide? Britain’s lithium needs – the equivalent of one million electric vehicles per year, which will go a long way towards phasing out new gasoline and diesel cars by 2030.
Innovative mineral exploration and research and development company Cornish Lithium recently secured a share of £ 9.4million of government investment as it works to build a large-scale mining plant scale for this vital metal. Cornish Lithium’s Trelavour Hard Rock Lithium scoping study will assess the feasibility of developing a sustainable supply chain in the UK, through the construction of an extraction plant that will produce lithium hydroxide at low carbon from a hard rock source in St Austell. Government funding will support their plans to use an innovative direct lithium extraction (DLE) method, which is a much more environmentally friendly disposal method compared to traditional evaporation tanks.
Not only is Cornish Lithium pioneering this new technique for mining lithium, but they will work in partnership with Geothermal Engineering Ltd (GEL) to extract heat from geothermal brines for local use at the United Downs site – where a geothermal power plant large-scale deep east is expected to be operational by 2022.
As part of further exploration of Cornwall’s lithium potential, in March 2021, British Lithium secured a £ 2.9million Innovate UK grant to build a pilot lithium mining plant, accelerating its development. way to commercialization. British Lithium’s pilot plant will produce samples tailored to each customer’s needs. Once tested and proven, the company aims to begin large-scale production of 21,000 t of the most demanded lithium compound (lithium carbonate) by 2026.
Along with exploring for major battery metals, Canada’s mining exploration company, Cornish Metals, pioneered the production of “clean tin,” a critical metal used in all modern technologies. The company recently announced that drilling has started on its United Downs copper-tin project, which aims to follow up on the discovery of high-grade copper-tin mineralization in the area made during its initial exploration by Cornish Lithium. . Cornish Metals is also approaching the reopening of the South Crofty tin-copper mine in Cornwall. Recent signing of land, mineral and waste disposal agreements allowing them to move forward with their redevelopment plans.
The progress that has taken place over the past 6 months in the region means Cornwall is one of the most promising regions in the UK, offering the potential to establish a sustainable and secure supply chain of some of the metals keys needed for a cleaner future. With the mining sector already connected to circular economy approaches and with the history of innovation and learning to lead the way in practices globally, now is the time to capitalize on the next generation of industries taking place in Cornwall.
Darryn Quayle, mining engineer and specialist in the Department of International Trade, said: “Cornwall not only has the natural resources to meet the growing demand for high-tech metals, but the cutting-edge mining expertise in the region provides easy access. to international networks. As the UK moves towards net zero, Cornwall will be at the heart of high-tech metal mining, growing our economy and establishing a safe and responsible UK supply chain. “
Owen Mihalop, COO of Cornish Metals, added: “The opportunity for technological metal mining in Cornwall is significant. At our South Crofty site our primary focus is on Tin – the forgotten infantryman of the high tech world – it’s used in absolutely everything we need for our modern life, from mobile phones, to robotics and from IT to power generation and storage – a low carbon economy requires tin. South Crofty is a world class mine due to the high grade nature of the ore which means we can mine less material to produce the same amount of tin.
Read the article online at: https://www.globalminingreview.com/mining/08062021/department-of-international-trade-identifies-cornwall-as-prospective-mining-area/