Huge lithium deposits were recently discovered in the underground waters located in Cornwall, Southwest England. Cornish Lithium, a mining firm, says that the county has some of the earth’s best reserves of the metal, and the deposits are of high quality.
This metal has various uses, including;
- Lithium’s most important use is in rechargeable batteries for laptops, mobile phones, electric vehicles and cameras as well as in non-rechargeable batteries for heart pacemakers as well as gadgets like clocks and toys.
- Lithium is also used to make alloys with magnesium and aluminum, which makes them lighter and also improves their strength. Aluminum-lithium alloys are used in bicycle frames, aircrafts and high-speed trains while Magnesium-lithium alloys are used for armor plating.
- Lithium carbonate is also used as a mood stabilizer for the brain for mental health issues like schizophrenia. It is also an approved treatment used in drugs that help treat Bipolar Disorder.
- Lithium oxide is used in glass ceramics and special glasses.
- Lithium stearate is used as a high-temperature all-purpose lubricant.
- Lithium bromide and lithium chloride are used in industrial drying systems and in air conditioning.
- Lastly, lithium hydride is used to store hydrogen to be used as a fuel
As we can see from the few uses above, lithium is an important metal and very high in demand in a lot of industries. Therefore, reviving Cornwall’s mining industry could create employment opportunities in the economically deprived region.
Jeremy Wrathall, Cornish Lithium’s founder, stated that the lithium deposits came from an enormous granite layer that stretched to Dartmoor from the Isles of Scilly. Some of the deposits dissolved in the saline water, making it easier for them to be pumped to the surface and extracted. He added that this was a big opportunity for both the UK and Cornwall.
During the 18th and 19th centuries, Cornwall had some of the richest copper reserves in the world and the most sophisticated mining technology globally.
As we move toward low-carbon energy, lithium grows in demand because in addition to enabling zero carbon, its mining process is also environmentally friendly. Lithium as well as other sediments are filtered out of the geothermal water then the clean water is pumped right back into the ground.
If Britain succeeds in phasing out diesel and petrol car sales by 2035, it is predicted that the demand for electric car batteries will skyrocket. Cornish Lithium is expected to start construction soon and in 18 months, the plant will begin operations.
Other mining industry players, such as Kingman Minerals Ltd. (TSX.V: KGS), are likely to congratulate Cornish Lithium upon such a huge find.
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