A company looking for lithium in hot springs in Cornwall has found the metal at “globally significant” levels.
Global demand for lithium, which is used in batteries for mobile phones and electric cars, is increasing.
Cornish Lithium has been sampling deep geothermal waters near Redruth and said initial tests indicated some of the world’s highest grades of lithium. Chief Executive Jeremy Wrathall said the results gave Cornwall “potential for a real new industry”.
He said: “This is an exciting step towards the realisation of low-carbon lithium extraction from geothermal waters in Cornwall.”
The company said samples taken from between 0.37 miles (600m) to 3.2 miles (5.2km) deep indicated the best overall chemical qualities for lithium encountered in published records for geothermal waters in the world.
Average lithium concentrations were found to be high at 220 mg/l with low concentrations of total dissolved solids – relative to other geothermal waters in the world – and “ultra-low” concentrations of magnesium, a metal that makes processing more expensive.