Could Cornwall become a mining hub again?

Levant Mine
West Penwith's mining heritage

By Aidan for BBC School Report

Cornwall could become a mining leader in a $70billion industrial revolution. Known across the world for its rich heritage in tin, Cornwall has deposits of a precious metal dubbed ‘white petroleum’. Lithium is vital for rechargeable batteries in devices from mobile phones to cars.

This material could be extracted from the granite below our feet in natural underground hot springs. Cornwall’s supply of lithium is the only source in Europe.

Start-up company Cornish Lithium has gained the rights to prospect for lithium in an area 15 miles wide. Chief Executive Jeremy Wrathall believes that the venture could bring regeneration to the county: “It would be good not just for the local economy but for all the UK”. Cornish Lithium has signed agreements with a Canadian company, Strongbow Exploration, who are looking to re-open the South Crofty mine in the hope of mining tin.

South Crofty was the last tin mine in Europe when it closed in 1998. They closed the acquisition of the site in July 2016, and operations could restart within two years. Richard Williams, CEO of Strongbow, said that they “need to demonstrate to the market that there is potential for long-term mining at the site”.

The price of tin is today fairly high again, making enterprises such as this a viable option.

There is another company who are a major producer of Tungsten, a vital mineral for a range of applications, from drill bits to light bulb filaments. Wolf Minerals’ mine in Devon is one of the Western World’s largest tungsten and tin resources and provides a secure supply for a global customer base.

With tungsten production underway, and tin mining on the horizon, the future is bright for Cornwall to become a global mining hub again.

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