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Cornish Lithium pilot plant delivered on time and on budget

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Global Mining Review,

Cornish Lithium Ltd has announced that GeoCubed Ltd has successfully commissioned and delivered the direct lithium extraction (DLE) pilot plant for its geothermal waters test facility at United Downs.

The DLE pilot plant has been designed to process Cornish geothermal waters using DLE technologies and is the first time that a DLE system has become operational in the UK. The £4.0 million Pilot Plant is being supported by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) with £2.9 million from the UK Government’s Getting Building Fund. The pilot plant was successfully commissioned at the end of March, on time and on budget.

Initially, the Pilot Plant will test GeoLith SAS’s Li-Capt® DLE technology and process the 140 m3 of deep geothermal water successfully obtained during GEL’s testing at its own United Downs site last year. This is expected to confirm that lithium can be produced in Cornwall from geothermal waters, and the pilot plant is expected to provide sufficient information to enable the design of a commercial lithium plant in the county. During the course of 2022, different DLE technologies will be tested, utilising the pilot plant, with a view to establishing the preferred technology for future DLE plants in Cornwall. The pilot plant has been designed to be as flexible as possible and has been constructed in standard 6.1m (20 ft) containers, enabling relocation to different sites to test new boreholes if required.

In addition to this news, Cornish Lithium has also announced an agreement with Geothermal Engineering Ltd (GEL) to acquire its 10% shareholding in GeoCubed. Following the completion of this transaction, GeoCubed will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cornish Lithium.

Jeremy Wrathall, CEO and Founder of Cornish Lithium, comments:

“We are delighted to announce that the United Downs DLE pilot plant has been successfully commissioned on time and on budget. This is testament to the hard work and commitment of the GeoCubed team and our technology partners at GeoLith. The pilot plant will be a great asset for the company as we work to establish the most appropriate DLE technology with which to process Cornish geothermal waters.

“I am also pleased that we have been able to reach an agreement with GEL to acquire their shareholding in GeoCubed so that it is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cornish Lithium. This will allow us to fully integrate GeoCubed within Cornish Lithium and benefit from the engineering expertise of its team across our portfolio of projects. Importantly, all 10 jobs that were created during the project will be retained in Cornwall.”

Neil O’Brien, Minister for Levelling Up, comments:

“The delivery of the UK’s first DLE plant is an incredible example of innovation at its finest and a proud moment for the people of Cornwall.

“Backed by nearly £3 million of government funding, the extraction plant will contribute towards the UK’s Net Zero target.”

Mark Duddridge, Chair of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP comments:

“This pilot plant could be a foundation for a new hi-tech battery metals industry in Cornwall, creating a secure, sustainable supply for battery and electric vehicle manufacturing in the UK, with the potential to support thousands of jobs. The LEP is delighted to have backed this project with £2.9 million of Getting Building Fund investment and we hope it will pave the way for a commercial scale plant.”

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