GeoCubed commissions Direct Lithium Extraction Pilot Plant in Cornwall

GeoCubed Ltd, a subsidiary of Cornish Lithium, has successfully commissioned and delivered the Direct Lithium Extraction (DLE) Pilot Plant at Cornish Lithium’s Geothermal Waters Test Facility at United Downs in Cornwall, England.

The DLE Pilot Plant has been designed to process Cornish geothermal waters using DLE technologies and is the first time that a DLE system has become operational in the UK. The £4 million ($5.3 million) plant is being supported by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) with £2.9 million from the UK Government’s Getting Building Fund.

The Pilot Plant was successfully commissioned at the end of March, on time and on budget.

Initially, the plant will test GeoLith SAS’ Li-Capt® DLE technology and process the 140 cu.m of deep geothermal water successfully obtained during GEL’s testing at its own United Downs site last year. This is expected to confirm that lithium can be produced in Cornwall from geothermal waters, and the Pilot Plant is expected to provide sufficient information to enable the design of a commercial lithium plant in the county.

During the course of 2022, different DLE technologies will be tested using the Pilot Plant with a view to establishing the preferred technology for future DLE plants in Cornwall. The Pilot Plant has been designed to be as flexible as possible and has been constructed in standard 6.1-m containers, enabling relocation to different sites to test new boreholes if required, the company said.

In addition to making pilot plant progress, Cornish Lithium announced that it had reached an agreement with Geothermal Engineering Limited (GEL) to acquire its 10% shareholding in GeoCubed. Following the completion of this transaction, GeoCubed will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cornish Lithium.

Jeremy Wrathall, CEO and Founder of Cornish Lithium, said: “We are delighted to announce that the United Downs DLE pilot plant has been successfully commissioned on time and on budget. This is testament to the hard work and commitment of the GeoCubed team and our technology partners at GeoLith. The Pilot Plant will be a great asset for the company as we work to establish the most appropriate DLE technology with which to process Cornish geothermal waters.”