Investment

Cornish Lithium backed by family dynasty

The huge worldwide demand for lithium in the production of batteries for electric vehicles is attracting family-backed capital as in this latest deal involving a mining company in the English county of Cornwall. 

Cornish Lithium, launched in 2016 by a mining engineer turned investment banker Jeremy Wrathall and his geologist wife Louise Wrathall, is backed by one of South Africa’s richest mining dynasties through a Dublin-based group called TechMet.

TechMet is owned by British/South African metals industrialist Brian Menell who is also a member of the Menell family. The family-owned South African conglomerate Anglovaal Group – set up by Brian’s grandfather, Slip Menell – until it was broken up and the mining interests were sold by Brian and his brother Rick 20 years ago

TechMet invested $18 million in Cornish Lithium, and the backing from such a serious player as Brian Menell, given his family’s role in developing the South African mining sector, shows the growing importance of lithium to energy needs in the 21st century. 

Set up in 2017, Brian’s interest in TechMet is owned through his private investment group, Kemet Group. Other shareholders in the group include hedge fund Lansdowne Partners and the huge energy and commodities trading group, Mercuria.

With these backers, TechMet unsurprisingly has big ambitions. According to its website, it wants to: “create a technology metals champion with strategic control over significant production of the key metals that will define and power the 21st century global economy”. 

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