Southampton-based marine planning and environmental consultancy MarineSpace has recently been commissioned by mineral exploration firm Cornish Lithium to provide consultancy services related to its offshore exploration plans.
In January 2021, The Crown Estate granted Cornish Lithium rights to explore for lithium within geothermal waters in areas off the north and south coasts of Cornwall.
The grant of rights means that Cornish Lithium can now begin its desk-based exploration programme, to start to identify potential geological targets for later research.
Physical exploration works should not take place for at least four years.
MarineSpace will initially support Cornish Lithium during desk-based works and consultation through provision of a literature review, development of GIS resources, completion of a project risk register and delivery of stakeholder engagement services.
Whilst exploration work for lithium in geothermal waters is at an early stage, lithium extraction has significant potential to create new revenue and jobs within a new industry for the benefit of Cornwall.
Cornish Lithium’s plans to expand its exploration activities to the offshore arena are part of a broader strategy to develop commercially viable production of lithium from geothermal waters that exist beneath Cornwall.
Onshore exploration is already well underway, with Cornish Lithium currently building a pilot lithium extraction plant in central Cornwall.
MarineSpace will deliver the work through 2021, during which time it will undertake desk-based elements of the project and proactive engagement with interested parties and organisations to determine how exploration activities can be planned and executed in the most sensitive way.
The outcome of the work will inform environmental characterisations of the exploration areas and identify areas of uncertainty and knowledge gaps to direct future phases of the project.