UK-based exploration and development firm Cornish Lithium has secured up to $24m (£18m) in funding from technology metals investor TechMet to help accelerate UK lithium projects.

The long-term investment from TechMet is expected to help Cornish advance its strategy of establishing a domestic battery metals supply in the country.

Cornish intends to use the infusion to advance its hard rock and geothermal work streams, as well as fund development plans to at least the end of 2022.

The financing will also allow the company to further explore technologies related to direct lithium extraction and refining to optimise lithium recovery in a sustainable and cost-effective manner.

Cornish plans to use part of the proceeds to complete several key workstreams related to the Trelavour hard rock lithium project, near St Dennis, St Austell, Cornwall.

Subject to shareholder clearance, Cornish Lithium would receive an initial £9m investment, at a subscription price of 13.5p per share.

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By GlobalData

The firm would receive a further £9m from TechMet at 20p per share, upon completion of the Trelavour project’s scoping study, which is due by Q2 2022.

Once the scoping study is completed, the company plans to build a beneficiation and hydrometallurgical demonstration plant to refine the metallurgical extraction process. This would inform the design of a commercial production plant.

TechMet CEO and chairman Brian Menell said: “We are excited to be supporting the next phase of development and building a long-term partnership with Cornish Lithium, which could become a cornerstone of the UK’s battery metal supply chain, as well as having very positive implications for Cornwall’s local economy.”

As part of the deal, TechMet chief technical officer Simon Gardner-Bond will become a member of the Cornish Lithium Board.

Cornish Lithium CEO and founder Jeremy Wrathall said: “The investment by TechMet, combined with the proceeds of the recent crowdfunding campaign, will provide the balance sheet strength and financial certainty to enable us to progress our projects and to create value for all our shareholders.

“TechMet has the financial capability to contribute additional capital if required and thus represents a strong, long-term partner for Cornish Lithium.”

Earlier this year, Cornish Lithium and Source Certain International teamed up to identify the origin of UK-mined lithium in lithium-ion batteries.