Cornish Metals closer to reopening UK tin-copper mine
The Canadian junior, formerly known as Strongbow Explorations, has announced agreements with Roskear Minerals, Brownfield Investments and Wheal Jane to assist the company with its redevelopment plans.
The South Crofty project is located in the Central Mining District of Cornwall, in the towns of Pool and Camborne, South West England.
Richard Williams, Cornish Metals CEO, commented: “Our agreement with Roskear Minerals enables Cornish Metals to explore and develop the mineral resources that are contained in the Roskear section of South Crofty. During the 1980s and 1990s, much of the ore mined from South Crofty came from this part of the mine, and it is considered by the Company to be a key area for delineation of additional mineral resources.
“The agreement with Brownfield Investments and Roskear Minerals secures access to the New Roskear Shaft, a 650-metre deep, six metre diameter, vertical shaft in the centre of Camborne, which is important for ventilation and access to South Crofty.
“Additionally, the binding heads of terms signed with Wheal Jane for the disposal of waste material derived from the dewatering of South Crofty will enable dewatering of the mine.”
Cornish Metals completed the acquisition of the South Crofty tin and United Downs copper / tin projects, plus additional mineral rights located in Cornwall, UK, in July 2016. The additional mineral rights cover an area of approximately 15,000 hectares and are distributed throughout Cornwall. Some of these mineral rights cover old mines that were historically worked for copper, tin, zinc, and tungsten.
The South Crofty project covers the former producing South Crofty tin mine located beneath the towns of Pool and Camborne, Cornwall. South Crofty mine closed in 1998 following over 400 years of continuous production. Since acquiring the project in 2016, Cornish Metals has completed and published maiden NI 43-101 mineral resources for South Crofty using the vast archive of historical production data and more recent drilling completed between 2007 and 2013.
In 2017, Cornish Metals completed a Preliminary Economic Assessment that demonstrated the economic vi ability of re-opening the mine. Additionally, Cornish Metals has undertaken extensive pilot-scale water treatment trials and successfully applied for and received the necessary environmental permits to abstract, treat and discharge mine water in order to dewater the mine. Planning permissions for the operation of the mine and re-development of the surface facilities have been secured.
Lithium producers bullish as EV revolution ramps demand
Rising demand for lithium is stoking prices for the electric vehicle battery metal, fueling long-delayed expansions that still may not produce adequate supplies that automakers need to meet aggressive production plans.
Growing industry optimism from higher lithium prices is a change from last year when funding for mines and processing plants dried up during the pandemic.
Albemarle Corp, Livent Corp and other producers are scrambling to make more lithium, but some analysts worry the recent price jump will not spur a big enough expansion to meet a planned wave of new EV models by mid-decade.
Since January, General Motors Co, Ford Motor Co LG Energy Solution and SK Innovation Co, along with other automakers and battery parts manufacturers, have said they will spend billions of dollars on EV plants.
U.S. President Joe Biden has proposed spending $174bn to boost EV sales and infrastructure. The European Union has similar plans, part of a rush to catch up with global EV leader China.
Those moves have helped an index of lithium prices jump 59 percent since April 2020, according to data from Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, a commodity pricing provider.
The rising demand “reflects what feels like a real and fundamental turning point in our industry,” said Paul Graves, chief executive of Livent Corp, which supplies Tesla Inc. On Monday, it said it would more than double its annual lithium production to 115,000 tonnes.
Graves warned, though, that “it will be a challenge for the lithium industry to produce sufficient qualified material in the near and medium term.”
Albemarle, the world’s largest lithium producer, aims to double its production capacity to 175,000 tonnes by the end of the year when two construction projects are complete. Albemarle's Q1 profit beat expectations thanks to rising lithium prices. Chile’s SQM, the No. 2 producer, said its goal to expand production of lithium carbonate by 71 percent to 120,000 tonnes should be complete by December.
Australia’s Orocobre is paying $1.4 billion for smaller rival Galaxy Resources, a strategy designed to boost scale and help it grow faster in regions closer to customers.
“The next few years are going to be critical in terms of whether there’s enough available lithium supply, and that’s why you’re starting to see commodity prices start to ramp,” said Chris Berry, an independent lithium industry consultant.
The price gains helped Albemarle and other major producers, including China’s Ganfeng Lithium Co and SQM, post big gains in first-quarter profit and boost forecasts for the year.
Even China’s Tianqi Lithium Corp, saddled with debt due to years of low lithium prices, signaled that recovering demand should help it swing to a profit this year.
Forecasts call for demand for the white metals to surge from about 320,000 tonnes annually last year to more than 1 million tonnes annually by 2025, when many automakers plan to launch new EV fleets, according to Benchmark.
Still, demand is expected to outstrip supply in 2025 by more than 200,000 tonnes, so lithium prices may need to rise to encourage producers to build more mines. That could boost the prices consumers pay for EVs. “Companies across the lithium-ion supply chain are in the best position they’ve been in for the last 5 years,” said Pedro Palandrani of the Global X Lithium & Battery Technology ETF , which has doubled in value in the past year.