A drilling programme has been announced for the latest site in Cornwall looking for sources of lithium underground.

Cornish Lithium, a mineral exploration and development company, is now moving its research to Blackwater following planning permission from Cornwall Council to assess the potential for producing lithium from geothermal waters.

Lithium is a metal used in batteries for technology such as mobile phones, as well as in the production of electric cars.

Groundworks at the site have already begun, and the company has now said it plans to start drilling the exploration borehole after Easter.

It is expected to take approximately six months to drill and Cornwall Council has granted permission for Cornish Lithium to drill for 24 hours a day.

However, the company, which has its head office at the Tremough Innovation Centre, said it plans to initially only drill between 7am and 7pm.

Permission has been granted under a General Permitted Development Order (GPDO) to drill the research borehole to a depth of approximately 2,000m (6,560 feet).

The drill rig will be the same as the one used by Cornish Lithium for its Twelveheads research borehole.

Straw bale screening will be used around it to minimise visual impact and to help absorb noise, which will be monitored and controlled in accordance with Cornwall Council’s requirements.

Samples of geothermal water will be collected at various depths within the borehole, to be tested for the presence of lithium.

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Cornish Lithium has vowed to continue engaging with the community of Blackwater by hosting a further drop-in session in a few weeks’ time, the date of which will be shared via the company’s website and social media channels.

Anyone with questions about the drill programme at Blackwater can call the drilling team on 01326 640 049 or email blackwaterdrilling@cornishlithium.com

Mike Round, head of geothermal lithium at Cornish Lithium, said: “As we outlined during our recent presentation to local residents, an environmentally-sustainable, domestic supply of lithium is an essential component of the UK’s transition to renewable energy, and Blackwater has been identified as a highly prospective area to explore for lithium in geothermal waters from our extensive digital modelling of Cornwall’s geology.

“Upon completion of our drill programme, test results from our exploration borehole will enable us to better understand the potential of the geothermal waters that underlie the site and could provide an important step towards achieving our aim of creating well-paid career opportunities for local people.”

The borehole at Blackwater joins existing projects at United Downs, Twelveheads and North Downs.

Further details about this new project can be found on Cornish Lithium’s website at https://cornishlithium.com/projects/lithium-in-geothermal-waters/blackwater/

Cornish Lithium said it hopes to provide a carbon-neutral resource to help mitigate the global lithium shortage, adding that this would also result in valuable by-products such as heat, which could be used as a renewable energy source for local businesses and communities.