A company exploring water deep underground Cornwall’s mine workings in search of lithium and other battery metals has closed its crowdfunding campaign after only three days having raised more than £5 million.

Cornish Lithium Ltd initially set out to raise £1.5 million but after a surge in investors it has gone on to take £5.2 million in only three days.

As a result it has closed this round of funding on Crowdcube.

Jeremy Wrathall, founder and CEO of Cornish Lithium, said: “To be so massively oversubscribed in only three days is an amazing vote of confidence in Cornish Lithium, the team, and our plans for the creation, in Cornwall, of a vital new industry for the UK economy.

“Having raised more money than we expected means that we are now able to accelerate our plans to build an environmentally-responsible lithium extraction industry in Cornwall while continuing to create value for our shareholders.”

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The company has its headquarters at the Tremough Innovation Centre in Penryn and is made up of a team of geologists, many of whom are graduates of Camborne School of Mines.

They have been carrying out investigations at the United Downs Deep Geothermal Power Project at Gwennap.

Mr Wrathall added: “With this additional funding, we can accelerate our drive towards the production of lithium from our geothermal waters project and from our hard rock project near St Austell, as well as to advance our exploration programme focused on other battery metals.

“On behalf of the board, I would like to thank our shareholders for their support and to welcome our new shareholders.”

Falmouth Packet:

The Cornish Lithium site at United Downs

The company opened up the crowdfunding campaign to pre-registered investors on Monday at 9am and within 30 minutes had already beaten its £1.5 million target. Around 15 per cent of those registered were from Cornwall.

The total continued to rise throughout the day, hitting £3 million within three hours, before being opened to the general public and Tuesday and then closed by the end of Wednesday.

Last month Cornish Lithium said that it had found some of the world's highest grades of the metal.

Preliminary sampling of the lithium – which is used in batteries from electric cars to household appliances – found deep underwater at the United Downs site indicated “some of the world’s highest grades of lithium and best overall chemical qualities encountered in published records for geothermal waters anywhere in the world".

Lithium is becoming increasingly important as the world moves towards renewable energy sources and away from fossil fuels, with the metal a key part of electric vehicles – an industry the UK hopes to become a leader in.

Cornish Lithium hopes to make Cornwall home to a sustainable extraction industry.

As a result of its previous crowdfund in 2019, the company has drilled and evaluated its own shallow wells of approximately 1km deep into lithium-rich geothermal waters near United Downs, as well as 41 holes of approximately 40m deep in a prospective hard rock granite source of lithium in a former china clay pit near St Austell.

Together with a pre-emptive rights offering to shareholders in April 2020 that raised a total of £2.2 million, plus government funding to establish a lithium extraction pilot plant, the latest funding will allow the company to look at accessing high grades of lithium using shallow drilling techniques.