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Former Investec banker raised nearly £ 4 million from thousands of private investors to fund plans to develop lithium-rich Cornwall deposits for electric car batteries.
Cornish Lithium, a mining startup founded by former Investec banker Jeremy Rothhall (Jeremy Wrathall), more than double the target in The £ 1.5 million he hoped to raise through crowdfunding after over 2,400 investors supported the business idea. The Cornwall company eventually raised £ 3.9 million (over $ 5 million) through the Crowdcube platform.
Rare earth miner hopes to get a grade of lithium «global significance», discovered in hot springs north of Redruth (Redruth), near the village of Gwennap, which was once called «richest square mile on earth» due to its vast deposits mineral resources. Rothhall hopes to start production in three to five years and believes Cornwall may have enough lithium to create a UK battery component center, reviving one of the country’s oldest industries in the metal-rich region..
Lithium is in increasing demand because it is used as a component in batteries, including electric vehicles. Lithium is commonly mined in China, Chile and Australia, but Rothhall believes Cornwall can meet all of the UK’s needs..
Exploration for lithium has already discovered fresh copper reserves beneath hot springs in this region, which in the 18th and early 19th centuries was considered one of the richest copper producers in the world..
Deborah reeve (Deborah Reeve), Mayor of Redruth, told the Guardian last month that the Cornish Lithium project «will be brilliant not only for this city, but for all of Cornwall».
«I am amazed at their persistence, determination and enthusiasm. They are confident that it will work. Let’s hope that it will be so», – she said.
Cornish Lithium has already raised around £ 4.2m following an investment from its founders, so-called business angels, and an initial £ 1.4m crowdfunding process last summer. The stock was valued at 5.3p a share at the time, but this week the fundraiser is pricing each share at 9p, which puts the entire company at £ 40m. Rothhall is expected to list on AIM (Alternative Investment Market) in the next five years London Stock Exchange.
He said the company is raising additional funding to «continue to move towards our goal of establishing a battery metal manufacturing center for the UK», adding: «The success of our recent exploration work and government funding of our pilot plant gives the company an opportunity to accelerate its commercial production efforts.».