A lithium miner in Cornwall has smashed its fundraising target as investors flock to a project they hope will produce enough raw materials to fuel the UK's electric vehicle boom.
Cornish Lithium doubled its original £1.5m target just a few hours in to its fundraising, ultimately attracting more than £4m in just over 24 hours.
The company said last month that it had discovered a "globally significant" supply of lithium – a crucial component of the batteries used in electric cars – under the hills of Redruth in Cornwall.
Almost 2,200 investors have contributed a combined £3.8m - significantly more than the company was originally targeting.
Jeremy Wrathall, founder and chief executive of Cornish Lithium, said: “We are raising additional funding at this time to continue towards our goal of creating a battery metals hub for the UK. The success of our recent exploration, and government funding for our pilot plant, gives the company the opportunity to accelerate its efforts towards commercial production."
The former investment banker has previously said the project could be in commercial production in the next three to five years. This would coincide with a ramp-up in demand for electric cars as a ban on new sales of petrol and diesel cars looms in 2035.
Britain is expected to need about 60,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate by then, according to the Faraday Institution, a research group working on batteries at the University of Oxford.
This demand could potentially be met entirety by the Cornish project, the company said.
Most supplies of the metal come from China, Chile and Australia, leading some to try and develop supply chains closer to home.
The company, which is eyeing a public listing in the next five years, has said that its discovery could create hundreds of jobs in a boost to Cornwall, which is grappling with a sharp rise in unemployment.
The area was once famous for its mining industry which produced tin and copper, but South Crofty, the county's last tin mine, closed more than 20 years ago. Efforts are under way to restart it following a rise in the global price of tin.