Nov 28, 2021

Cornish Lithium secures £18 million funding from TechMet

mining
Lithium
cornwall
UK
Dominic Ellis
5 min
Techmet financing is an important step in advancing Cornish Lithium’s development programme

Cornish Lithium has secured an investment package of up to £18 million from TechMet, a leading technology metals investment company.

Securing long-term investment from TechMet is a significant step forward for Cornish Lithium and allows the company to step up its activities towards creating a domestic supply of lithium and other battery metals for the UK.

The investment represents a key milestone for the Company given that it is the first investment that Cornish Lithium has secured from a financial institution. Cornish Lithium expects to benefit from TechMet’s deep knowledge of the battery metals supply chain and extensive commercial and strategic relationships.

Highlights

  • The investment from TechMet, a company that invests in technology metals projects around the world, will enable Cornish Lithium to fast-track development of its project portfolio in Cornwall and to significantly advance the company’s strategy of establishing a domestic supply of battery metals.
  • The investment will occur in two tranches: The first tranche of £9 million to be invested upon receipt of shareholder approval and the second tranche of £9 million will be invested, at the option of TechMet, following the delivery of the Scoping Study for the Trelavour Hard Rock Project, which is on track for completion in Q2 2022.
  • The funding package will enable the Company to significantly accelerate its projects, including the construction of a beneficiation and hydrometallurgical demonstration plant that will enable the Company to optimise the low carbon Lepidico processing technology to which Cornish Lithium secured a 15-year royalty free licence in 2020.
  • Progress towards feasibility studies for the Trelavour Project, which will enable the Company to materially progress construction plans and to seek the necessary finance to build the project and move towards commercial production.
     
  • Drilling additional geothermal evaluation boreholes and developing associated direct lithium extraction sites to further demonstrate Cornwall’s prospectivity for lithium contained in geothermal waters. The Company will also progress studies into the possibility of using heat from these boreholes to decarbonise local industries in Cornwall.
  • Simon Gardner-Bond, Chief Technical Officer of TechMet, will join the Cornish Lithium Board.

Jeremy Wrathall, ceo and founder of Cornish Lithium, said TechMet’s support validates the extensive work we have completed in Cornwall since the Company was founded in May 2016.

"The investment, combined with the proceeds of the recent crowdfunding campaign, will provide the balance sheet strength and financial certainty to enable us to progress our projects and to create value for all our shareholders," he said. 

“Cornish Lithium has reached an inflexion point in the Company’s development where larger scale investment is required. This funding underpins the Company’s ambitions in Cornwall as we seek to progress our projects towards construction and commercial production."

TechMet has the financial capability to contribute additional capital if required and thus represents a strong, long-term partner for Cornish Lithium. This investment reinforces the merits of our projects as we seek to progress towards commercial production. Importantly, TechMet’s mission of building ethical and environmentally sound supply chains for the metals needed to ensure the success of the clean energy and electric vehicle revolution, is fully aligned with that of Cornish Lithium.

“As the world transitions towards electric vehicles a material lithium supply gap is looming, especially in the UK given the requirement for an estimated 75,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent by 2035, according to The Faraday Institution. Cornish Lithium intends to position itself as a key player in the necessary supply chains to bridge that gap," he added.

“Cornish Lithium looks forward to welcoming Simon Gardner-Bond as a director of the Company and to benefitting from Simon’s depth of knowledge and experience that he will bring to bear as we develop our projects.”   

Brian Menell, ceo and chairman of TechMet, said it had been "extremely impressed" by the innovative and talented Cornish Lithium team, which has made considerable progress over the past few years. We are excited to be supporting the next phase of development and building a long-term partnership with Cornish Lithium, which could become a cornerstone of the UK’s battery metal supply chain as well as having very positive implications for Cornwall’s local economy.

“This financing is an important step in advancing Cornish Lithium’s development programme. As the UK’s pre-eminent prospective lithium producer, it also represents an important step in the development of a domestic lithium supply for the UK economy," he said. 

TechMet was founded in 2017 by British/South African metals industrialist Menell, with the aim of developing assets that produce metals for which global demand is expected to vastly outweigh supply as the world moves to clean energy technologies. 

Its assets include Li-Cycle Corp – North America’s largest lithium-ion battery recycling company listed on the NYSE; Brazilian Nickel – a mining and extraction company developing production of nickel and cobalt suitable for EV batteries; US Vanadium – which produces vanadium products suitable for redox flow batteries; and Tinco – a portfolio of producing tin and tungsten mines.

TechMet’s largest shareholders include Lansdowne Partners (one of London’s foremost asset managers); the US International Development Finance Corporation (the US Government’s development finance institution); and Mercuria (the global energy and commodity trading company) together with Menell.

Proceeds from the Investment will be utilised by the company to progress both its hard rock and geothermal work streams and is expected to provide sufficient working capital to fund its ambitious development plans to at least the end of 2022.  

The funding will also enable further research into direct lithium extraction and refining technologies to optimise the recovery of lithium in a cost effective and sustainable manner.

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