St Austell-based British Lithium Limited (BLL) has embarked on its fourth and largest round of drilling to define the extent of the lithium carbonate resource already identified in previous exploration work last year.
Seventeen large diameter reverse-circulation holes will be drilled to depths of 250 metres, with each metre logged and assayed to determine lithium grade and other qualities. Testing will take place in BLL’s nearby state-of-the-art laboratory in Roche. Indicative results are expected by the end of May.
BLL was the first company in the UK to embark on a drilling programme for lithium in 2019 and is the first in the world to be progressing commercial extraction of lithium carbonate from the mica in granite using innovative new technology.
Having been awarded a prestigious Innovate UK Smart Grant of £500k in 2020, BLL currently employs 12 highly skilled geoscientists, chemical engineers and metallurgists.
“The bulk sample analysis we carried out at the end of last year was very exciting in terms of the high lithium grades and there is plenty of optimism about what this round of confirmatory drilling will tell us,” said CEO Andrew Smith. “Holes will be more tightly spaced than in previous campaigns – providing us with detailed information and invaluable data which will inform a mine plan being prepared by mining engineers, Barra Resources.”
News of BLL’s latest activity follows hot on the heels of Jaguar Land Rover announcing all Jaguar cars will be electric by 2025 and all Land Rovers by 2030.
“The UK Government’s recently published ten-point plan for a green industrial revolution requires all new cars to be electric in just nine years,” said BLL chair Roderick Smith.
“We have been developing our novelLi-Sep technology for sustainable lithium extraction in Cornwall for the last four years and have already recruited some of the country’s finest minds to our project. We were the first to extract pure lithium from Cornish granite in 2017 and have now perfected our green technology.
“When we are fully operational, we expect to be employing hundreds of people directly and thousands more through our supply chain. We also anticipate meeting at least one third of the UK’s annual demand for lithium, whilst protecting the environment.
“Our progress to date has been excellent and we’re looking forward to seeing what this fourth round of drilling yields.”