British explorer Cornish Lithium has secured funding from the UK’s national innovation agency to support the construction of a demonstration scale processing plant at the Trelavour hard rock lithium project.
The funding was received from Innovate UK as part of the Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF) Scale up Readiness Validation (SuRV) competition.
Cornish Lithium plans to use this capital to build the hydrometallurgical section of a processing plant, which will include concentration and hydrometallurgical treatment stages.
The facility is expected to be built at the Trelith processing site associated with the Trelavour hard rock lithium project near St Austell, according to a statement on abmec.org.uk.
Cornish Lithium CEO and Founder Jeremy Wrathall said: “We are delighted to have received this ATF grant as it will accelerate our progress towards commercial production of battery grade lithium hydroxide in the UK.
“We believe that a secure and sustainable national supply of lithium is essential to the development of a resilient electric vehicle supply chain for the UK automotive industry.
“The award of this grant provides further validation of the potential of the Trelavour project, following the decision of our major institutional shareholder, TechMet, to exercise its option to invest an additional £9 million after reviewing our scoping study .”
Wrathall said the company will use ATF funds, along with funds from the TechMet option exercise, to build the demonstration plant.
This plant will produce commercial samples of lithium hydroxide, which will be evaluated by end users such as battery producers and automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).
It will also be equipped to produce samples of by-products such as gypsum, cesium, sulphate of potash and sulphate of rubidium alum.
Cornish Lithium has completed detailed metallurgical testing of these pilot scale processes and intends to construct a demonstration plant to validate the commercial viability of the technology.
The company expects the demonstration plant to be a key contribution to its feasibility study to build a commercial lithium mining plant in Cornwall to produce lithium hydroxide.