Lithium was discovered in Cornwall in 1864 in the hot underground (geothermal) fluid when a sample was taken from a tin mine for analysis. During the Geothermal well testing at the United Downs site, GEL also had samples of the fluid from circa 5km below the surface analysed and were excited to find that the concentrations were some of the highest in the world.

Lithium Extraction Plant

We all use lithium in electronic devices, however, we tend not to think about where it comes from and if the extraction process causes any damage to the planet. With the ever-increasing move to electric vehicles, not just domestic cars, lithium is in greater demand than ever before.

DLE technology is in its infancy around the world, however, successful extraction has been reported. DLE is environmentally friendly and once the lithium has been extracted the geothermal fluid is deposited back underground to percolate through the natural fractures in the granite.

Domestic production of this critical metal is vital for the UK to deliver its zero carbon and clean growth ambitions and the co-production of lithium with geothermal power and heat from the same geothermal source is an exciting opportunity for GEL and Cornwall.