Proactiveinvestors United Kingdom Cornish Lithium Proactiveinvestors United Kingdom Cornish Lithium RSS feed en Wed, 17 Jul 2019 12:26:05 +0100 Genera CMS (Proactiveinvestors) (Proactiveinvestors) <![CDATA[Media files - We want to enfranchise the local community with crowdfunding says Cornish Lithium's Wrathall ]]> Fri, 12 Jul 2019 14:51:00 +0100 <![CDATA[Media files - Cornish Lithium mulls crowdfunding to finance further exploration ]]> Fri, 05 Jul 2019 09:52:00 +0100 <![CDATA[News - Trailblazing Cornish Lithium looks to crowdfunding to finance next round of exploration and evaluation ]]> Not content with blazing a trail in opening up the UK to the potential of mining lithium Cornish Lithium now looks set to blaze a trail in mining finance too.

The company is actively considering raising its next round of exploration finance via CrowdCube, a crowdfunding site based, appropriately enough, in the West Country.

If Cornish Lithium goes ahead with its plans to raise around £1mln through CrowdCube it will be the first time a UK-based mining company has raised funds in this manner.

Cornish Lithium chief executive Jeremy Wrathall has yet to make the final decision on the matter, but he’s very clear in his own mind as to what the potential benefits would be.

First and foremost is the opportunity a crowdfunding campaign would provide for local people in Cornwall and the West Country to invest, at any level they choose. This is a crucial difference between crowdfunding and the more usual methods of funding used by junior mining companies.

In the case of CrowdCube the minimum investment allowed on the platform is just £10.00, effectively opening up the opportunity to everyone, rather than just the usual coterie of investment specialists and those in the know.

Aside from widening the funding pool for Cornish Lithium, this type of investment has the added effect of underpinning the company’s social license in Cornwall.

Because although Cornish Lithium is already well supported across Cornwall at various levels, as an experienced mining executive Wrathall is very mindful that local community support can make or break a project. One way to get support from locals is to hold out the offer of new employment, as Scotgold Resources (LON:SGZ) has done very effectively at its Cononish project in the Grampians. Wrathall has also closely monitored the positive effect that community engagement has had for Sirius Minerals PLC (LON:SXX) with their polyhalite project in north Yorkshire.

But another way, hitherto untried, is to open up ownership in the company literally to everyone in the community. It’s a trail that Wrathall is more than happy to blaze, although he is keen to ensure that potential new investors are aware that there are some risks involved.

Exploration is an uncertain business, scientifically-based to be sure, but also a matter of judgments and interpretations based on extremely complex and sometimes hard to read data.

Cornish Lithium is pretty confident that it will be able to drill three holes into geological structures believed to contain lithium-bearing brines at a depth of around 1,000 metres this summer, in order to extract samples and data. But as is the way with mining exploration, nothing is certain.

And it’s partly in the context of that uncertainty that Wrathall has picked an FCA-regulated crowdfunding site like CrowdCube as the potential platform for the funding.

“This whole exercise is being done properly,” he says. “And we are using well-respected mining consultant SRK as our competent person and they will be reviewing our exploration programme and methodologies. We’re going through the process almost as if it’s a listing. At some stage we may wish to list and it is important to me to set the ground rules now.”

That should provide potential investors who might not be quite sure what they’re getting into with a fair measure of reassurance. Competent persons are commonly used by exchange-listed companies to provide regulatory cover for claims they might make about assets. Or to put it another way, they provide respectable independent scrutiny.

Cornish Lithium is clearly cognisant that, as has so often happened in the history of mining speculation, there is potential in the emerging world of mining crowdfunding for unscrupulous elements to creep in. But if that does end up happening elsewhere, it’s not going to happen with Cornish Lithium.

Wrathall himself is well-known and well-liked in UK mining finance circles. He’s spent time working at major investment banks as well as on the boards of several junior listed mining companies. Now though, Cornish Lithium is his sole focus, and he is somewhat evangelical about it.

Cornish Lithium is going to help reinvigorate the Cornish mining scene, and thereby help stimulate British industry at a time when Brexit-related issues mean that Cornwall needs all the help it can get. What’s more, as possibly the only serious lithium exploration opportunity in Britain, Cornish Lithium will be at the forefront of Britain’s move into the newly emerging world of next-generation batteries and electric vehicles.

And although it may sound evangelical, Wrathall has his hearers, and at very high levels too. The company has been selected as a key member of the Faraday Electric Battery Challenge, a government implemented and funded scheme to promote electric vehicle battery technology in the UK. Its partners in this initiative are the Natural History Museum and Wardell Armstrong, a mining industry consultant similar to SRK.

Potential investors may be interested to know too that the company has qualified for EIS, with all the tax benefits for investors that implies.

Thu, 04 Jul 2019 12:19:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - Government backing lined up for Cornish Lithium as it partners with Wardell Armstrong and the Natural History Museum to advance UK battery capabilities ]]> “It’s been a huge voyage of discovery,” says Jeremy Wrathall.

“An absolutely amazing journey.”

In the past year the company he created, Cornish Lithium, has been transforming rapidly from a concept conjured up from the pages of old documents hidden in half-forgotten library vaults into a well-funded exploration vehicle with 10 geologists and some serious-minded partners providing additional funding and know-how. 

New consortium very blue-chip

The latest development for Cornish Lithium involves the company’s participation in  a consortium brought together and funded by the Faraday Battery Challenge fund, a UK government scheme  aimed at furthering the UK’s electric vehicle battery capabilities.

In the world of geological know-how in the UK the partners in this consortium don’t  get much more blue chip than the Natural History Museum, arguably the institution which kick-started the entire scientific field of geology, or Wardell Armstrong, the leading firm of geological consultants, which does business around the world and knows mining and mineralogy like few others.

But these two institutions, the one commercial, the other academic, are now partnered with Cornish Lithium in what can only be seen as a ringing endorsement of the potential that Cornish Lithium’s projects offer.

The government grant to the consortium amounts to just under £500,000, to be split, between the three parties according to their responsibilities. The project will focus on the possibility of securing a domestic supply of lithium for the UK.

Wardell Armstrong will take the lead in the partnership, on account of the significant expertise and experience it can bring to bear, particularly in the shape of Dr Chris Broadbent, in his capacity as co-ordinator for the FAME project, an internationally-backed consortium of companies and academic institutions that has been researching the potential of significant European orebodies, including lithium deposits.

One of FAME’s backers is the Natural History Museum, so here we have two partners who’ve already cooperated successfully coming round a second time for a new venture.

Cornish Lithium takes the lead in UK lithium exploration

What’s different in this case is the addition of Cornish Lithium into the mix. That gives the partnership a very specific flavour. Although the grant money won’t go exclusively towards researching the potential of Cornish Lithium’s more than 300 square kilometres of rights in Cornwall, nonetheless, this  seems likely to be  front and centre.

Cornish Lithium itself raised a further £1mln in December 2018, so work is proceeding apace in any case, and Wrathall is confident that the company’s current backers will return in any future fundraising, so this is not at all a story about a privately-listed company dependent on grant funding in order to survive. The Faraday Challenge funding is however likely to accelerate work that Cornish Lithium had planned to do.

Rather, with its work on the ground in Cornwall, Cornish Lithium is beginning to make enough intellectual waves on the UK mining scene to allow it to rub shoulders with the likes of Wardell and the Natural History Museum on something like an equal footing.

Cornish mining conference coming up

The company is putting together a Cornwall-focused mining conference in June, and expects it to be attended by some serious and heavy-hitting investors, as well as some significant players in the mining sector itself, like Strategic Metals PLC (LON:SMI) and Strongbow.

It all speaks of an enterprise getting into its stride. The excitement in Wrathall’s voice as he describes his experiences in uncovering the huge lithium potential of Cornwall is palpable. Here it seems he is coming into his element as an entrepreneurial chief executive, after years learning the ropes of international mining finance in dry offices in the City.

Much will depend on the geology, of course. But we’ll be getting an update on that fairly soon. Vital information is expected to come from the United Downs geothermal project in Cornwall which recently reached the incredible depth of 5.2 kilometres, becoming the deepest hole ever drilled on shore in the UK.

This project is located only 500 metres from the original discovery of lithium in brine that was recorded by Professor Miller of Kings College in 1864 and recorded in some of the dusty documents that Wrathall uncovered during his search for lithium in Cornwall.

For Cornish Lithium it’s not just brine, either. That was the initial focus, but the company is now looking at the potential for hard rock mining too, especially after it was contacted by a retired member of the British Geological Survey and informed that unbeknownst to anyone there had actually been a lithium mine on Cornish Lithium’s ground during the war.

“We have located the old mine,” says Wrathall, “and it’s in an area where we have rights to the hard rock as well as the brine.”

Mining already happening in the area

What’s more, he says, there is already a major open-pit mining industry operating in Cornwall for china clay, which is a good precedent for the possibility of a lithium mining industry in the same region.

It’s all highly encouraging, but it’s the government endorsement that will really give the project a boost this year.

“The Department for International Trade has announced Cornish mining as a high priority opportunity for the UK,” explains Wrathall.

“This has been a major boost for our company and for other companies, such as Strongbow Exploration and Strategic Minerals who are operating in Cornwall. This, together with strong support form the Cornwall Council make mining in Cornwall a very real possibility.”

The government is perhaps in a bit more of a hurry than it otherwise might be, as the Brexit situation has brought the need for new economic initiatives to the fore. But as far as Cornish Lithium is concerned that’s all to the good.

The creation of the partnerships with Wardells and the Natural History Museum represents, says Wrathall, “government recognition that there could be a domestic source of lithium in the UK from brine and hard rock.”

And that’s exactly what Wrathall himself has been saying ever since the days he was inhabiting those old libraries fishing out long-forgotten geological reports on lithium in Cornwall.

His vision is now one step closer to becoming a reality, although there’s still a long journey ahead.


Tue, 11 Jun 2019 15:23:00 +0100
<![CDATA[Media files - Cornish Lithium chosen to help lead study into lithium supply to meet EV demand ]]> Tue, 11 Jun 2019 14:08:00 +0100 <![CDATA[Media files - Cornish Lithium steps on the accelerator for Lithium exploration in Cornwall ]]> Wed, 23 May 2018 13:01:00 +0100 <![CDATA[News - Cornish Lithium seeking £5mln to prove concept that could transform English energy industry ]]> It has all the elements of the best mystery stories: old documents hidden away in obscure corners of offices, ancient books on dusty library shelves containing long-forgotten but vital information, clues scattered here and there in passing references to other things, shadowy figures protecting long-standing rights held for generations and at the end of it all the possibility of a discovering a new and very rich treasure in the long-abandoned underground mines of Cornwall.

It takes a certain sort of creative mind to put all these pieces of the puzzle together and come up with an idea that could transform England’s mining and energy industry at a stroke.

WATCH: Cornish Lithium steps on the accelerator for Lithium exploration in Cornwall

How is this possible?

“This all started five years ago when a friend of mine who was running South Crofty said ‘we’ve got everything here, tin copper, zinc and lots of other metals.”

These are the opening words of Jeremy Wrathall, as he starts to tell the story of Cornish Lithium, a company that he conceived himself on the germ of an idea and which he now aims to build into a new force in English junior mining.

South Crofty, as mining industry veterans will remember well, was the last of the great Cornish tin mines to close, and that scarce a generation ago. It closed because tin prices were low, costs were high and because the country just really wasn’t set up for mining any more.

By the time Wrathall’s friend had taken charge, production at South Crofty was just a distant memory, but a mining boom had since come and gone, and geologists with one eye on the main chance had always kept it in view.

To the north, in Wales, another old operation continues to attract interest and funding, on the island of Anglesey. Up in Yorkshire, Sirius Minerals (LON:SXX) continues to make waves in the investment world, while even further north, in Scotland, a new mine has just started production. Closer to Cornwall, meanwhile, Wolf Minerals has just started tungsten production across the border at Hemerdon in Devon.

In fact, the closure of South Crofty probably marked the unofficial nadir of British mining in general. So Wrathall’s plans to make the mineralisation there work for the economic good of shareholders and the local populace represent a small but significant stage in the slow renaissance of British mining.

The glory days of coal are long gone, of course, when British miners numbered in their hundreds of thousands. In spite of strong continuing appetite in developing parts of the world, coal is a commodity of the past.

Instead, the future lies with lithium. All this would have had very little to do with Cornwall had not Wrathall, a highly experience mining analyst with a quick brain and a commercial mind, managed to join a series of dots that no-one else had even seen were connected.

Hence the time in the libraries, the time poring over old documents, consulting old testimony, looking at old geological maps and reading the accounts of old miners in Cornwall. Hence, his ears pricking up when his friend talked of South Crofty containing “everything”.

Might that “everything” include lithium, the metal of the moment?

It did indeed, and possibly in serious quantity too. The lithium in question isn’t, however, contained in the ore mined by the old-timers at South Crofty or at other mines across the county. Rather, it comes as part of a perennial problem that the old-timers faced: the ingress of hot water into the mines.

Thus, Wrathall deeply ensconced in library books looking for testimony of old miners about the disruptive effects of heat and hot water on old mines. And this testimony, once found, goes back at least 150 years. Thus, Wrathall searching for geological models to explain this phenomena unearthed documents explaining exactly why the lithium is there.

But nobody had previously connected the dots as the market for lithium didn't exist, nor did the new technology to extract it..

And thus,with a bit of lateral thinking, he puttogether a working hypothesis, which if right, could end up proving that one of Europe’s largest concentrations of lithium mineralisation in fact lies beneath the surface of Cornwall, inside what are known as brines, salty water that also contains other minerals.

“We found  historic lithium readings at several old mines in Cornwall: Wheal Clifford, Wheal Jane and South Crofty amongst others,” he says. “The brine appears to have stripped lithium out of the granite in Cornwall and the fact that the granite is still hot means that these brines are still circulating.”

The idea is to drill into large scale regional faults where the company believes brines containing lithium are still moving. The brine would then be pumped to surface and processed using one of a series of newly developing technologies that allows for the rapid extraction of lithium from brine.

To that end, Wrathall has secured deals with three of the major holders of mineral rights in Cornwall, Strongbow Exploration (CVE:SBW), Tregothnan Estates and Mineral Exploration Limited.

Cornish Lithium now has the rights to all lithium discovered in ground controlled by these parties, subject to a royalty, which Wrathall estimates at adding up to a total of around 30,000 hectares.  It’s hard to be precise, because there is no official, national land registry for mineral rights, which is another reason why Wrathall has had to play detective.

Whatever the exact amount of land under license, Cornish Lithium will now be able to to conduct the most extensive exploration programme ever undertaken in Cornwall.

Modern exploration techniques have come a long way since the mines in Cornwall shut down twenty years ago and Wrathall believes new techniques will enable the company to narrow down the search and enable test holes to be accurately drilled.

So the mystery is moving into a new phase now: will the brines really deliver lithium in sufficient quantities to make it economic?

“This has a lot of risk, as do many early stage exploration projects” concedes Wrathall. “Of that there’s no doubt.” But if I didn’t try and advance this project somebody else would. Lithium is the metal of the future and if we prove the concept this could result in a whole new industry for Britain.”

He’s now seeking up to £5mln in early stage funding to prove his concept.

And in the current buoyant lithium market, and allowing for Wrathall’s own long experience both in capital markets and as a mining engineer, he’s likely to get it.


Wed, 08 Mar 2017 12:53:00 +0000