On 21 October 2021, the European Federation of Geologists (EFG) organised the webinar ‘Responsible mining for the energy transition: Cornish Lithium‘. The event was scheduled for 5 – 6 PM CEST (Brussels time).

The clean energy transition is centred around developing and adopting technologies that can generate or store electricity, but do not produce carbon dioxide. As a part of this transition, lithium-ion batteries are seen as key to storing energy produced via renewable technologies (e.g. wind or solar), and essential to decarbonising the automotive industry by facilitating the replacement of internal combustion engine vehicles with electric vehicles. The World Bank anticipates a 965% increase in demand for lithium by 2050, compared to 2017 production levels, primarily due to the electrification of the automotive industry. However, lithium-ion batteries do not grow on trees. The transition to low-carbon technologies will be mineral intensive and therefore geoscientists have a key role to play in exploring and extracting minerals in a responsible manner.

This webinar focused on the role responsible mining will have in the energy transition. As a case study, the session presented the work Cornish Lithium are doing to discover new lithium resources in the Southwest of the UK, and their adoption of low-carbon technologies for lithium extraction.

Vitor Correia, Past President of EFG and Secretary-General of the International Raw Materials Observatory, was the host of the webinar.

The guest speaker was Rebecca Paisley. She is an Exploration Geochemist for Cornish Lithium, she holds a PhD in Earth and Planetary Sciences from McGill University, Canada, and a master’s degree in Earth Sciences from the University of Oxford, UK. She specialises in using geochemical data to constrain sub-surfaces processes in a variety of geological environments. After an internship with the commodity research firm Roskill, Rebecca joined Cornish Lithium to assist with developing the geochemical side of their exploration efforts. Rebecca currently designs and implements the geothermal waters sampling strategies for Cornish Lithium. Data collected from different sampling campaigns are used for resource estimation and prospectivity of future sites. She also manages Cornish Lithium’s direct lithium extraction (DLE) work package, evaluating different technologies and their abilities to process Cornish geothermal fluids.

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