Why Cornwall's 'lithium boom' could be good news for the future of the planet

Watch Sam Blackledge's report

Cornwall's growing mining industry could be ready to start commercially extracting lithium within the next three years.

On Wednesday 13 September a major conference took place in Falmouth, and industry leaders say testing is going well as the county looks to become a global hub for sourcing this precious metal.

Conference delegates were given a tour of Cornish Lithium's site near Redruth. Credit: ITV News

Jeremy Wrathall, CEO of Cornish Lithium, told ITV News his company's projects hold huge potential.

"It brings employment, it brings high-tech jobs and it brings a sense of pride back to Cornwall as well.

"I think it's going to add a lot to the economy of Cornwall, beyond the tourism and everything else.

"A lot of young people in Cornwall feel they have to go out of the county. We're hoping they'll stay here and have a rewarding career, not just a job, but a career."

Lithium can be extracted from geothermal waters or hot rocks underground. Credit: ITV News

Lithium can be used to store energy produced by renewable sources; for smart phones and cameras; and for the batteries needed to power electric cars.

The metal is currently mined in Australia and South America - but Cornwall could be transforming into the new lithium capital of the world.

Bess Mann, from Camborne School of Mines, said: "There's a lot of potential for critical metals and a lot of resources within our country, so it's very exciting."