UK Infrastructure Bank helps crowd-in investment in Cornish Lithium

The UK Infrastructure Bank has announced a £24 million equity investment in Cornish Lithium to support development of the UK’s critical minerals supply chain.
The investment, the Bank’s first equity deal, facilitated matched funding by The Energy & Minerals Group (EMG), a US-based private equity fund focused on the energy and minerals sectors. Cornish Lithium’s existing institutional shareholder, TechMet, the energy-metals investment company, whose major backers include the US Government, is investing a further £5.6 million, bringing their total investment into Cornish Lithium to $30m.
The initial investment is part of a larger funding package of up to an additional £168 million potential second-stage financing, which is expected to provide the equity foundation necessary for the mineral exploration and development company to achieve commercial production.
In commercial production, Cornish Lithium aims to build its 70-strong Cornwall-based workforce to over 300. The mine is expected to have a 20-year life, plans for geothermal waters alongside.
John Flint, CEO of UK Infrastructure Bank, said: “Globally the supply of lithium is far outpaced by demand, and yet in the UK it remains a nascent market. Our investment has already crowded-in private sector financing which will greatly accelerate domestic production of a mineral which is critical to the future of EV battery production and decarbonisation of the transport sector.”
Jeremy Wrathall, founder and CEO of Cornish Lithium, said: “Cornish Lithium has achieved its objective of defining world-class opportunities for lithium extraction in Cornwall from both lithium-enriched geothermal waters and from hard rock. It was therefore essential to secure funding from institutional investors with the financial muscle to bring our projects into commercial production. We are delighted to have secured investment from the UK Infrastructure Bank alongside EMG, as well as our much-valued partner TechMet.
“This funding will enable us to progress our Trelavour hard rock lithium project to a construction-ready status as well as completing the engineering design work required to build a demonstration-scale geothermal waters extraction facility.”
Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch said: “This is fantastic news for the Cornish economy and the UK car industry as a whole. This announcement demonstrates that the Government has got the right plan in place to help produce the batteries we need to ramp up our domestic electric vehicle production. Together with Tata Group’s recent gigafactory announcement, we are making sure the UK automotive sector is well set for the future.”