MetAmpere, the first company to drill lithium exploration holes in the UK, is carrying out further excavation work in Cornwall as part of a project to build a quarry and processing plant capable of producing 20,000 tonnes of the highly sought-after metal each year – sufficient to power 350,000 electric vehicles.

Having successfully completed six exploration drill holes, MetAmpere’s team of geologists are digging kilometres of trenches to establish continuity of the discovered ore body.

Laboratory analysis of that drilling revealed over 200 metres of continuous lithium mineralisation from surface. The trenching and further drilling will allow an independent expert to declare a Maiden JORC Resource Statement next year.

Lithium has never been extracted from the mica in granite before and the experts behind the project say they are very excited about what they’ve so far discovered.

“The results from the drilling we’ve done to date are staggeringly good,” said MetAmpere chair Roderick Smith, who has built and officially opened five mines of different kinds worldwide.

“We’ve spent the last two years undertaking a range of reconnaissance activities and are looking at another three years before construction is planned. Our approach is always to research thoroughly and ensure feasibility before moving on to design, build and operation. I can’t emphasise enough how very excited we are about this project – its extraordinary potential will bring huge economic benefits for Cornwall.”

Those benefits include an estimated £275 million spent during the construction phase, 400 high value, full-time jobs once operational, indirect supply-chain employment for more than 3,000 people and projected annual expenditure in Cornwall of around £120 million.

“Cornwall has a very proud mining heritage and, from what we can see, a global future in lithium production,” said MetAmpere CEO Andrew Smith, who previously ran a large international mining team for the Cinovec lithium project in the Czech Republic.

“The world needs far more lithium than is currently being produced to make the batteries renewable technology depends upon. China is dominating the industry at the moment, but Cornwall could soon be taking its place on the world stage too.”

MetAmpere CEO Andrew Smith at the excavation site