The potential for Cornwall in South West England to be a global resource for mining operations, including high-technology metals is being showcased at the world’s premier mineral exploration and mining convention this week (March 4). Cornwall Trade & Investment has been invited to attend PDAC (Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada) 2019 Convention in Toronto alongside the Department of International Trade (DIT) to launch Cornwall’s mining sector as one of the UK’s ‘High Potential Opportunities’.
High Potential Opportunities, or HPOs, are part of the UK Government’s drive to attract more overseas investment and trade opportunities to the UK by showcasing national sector strengths and skills to global investors. The HPO means Cornwall’s abundance of high-technology metals and mineral deposits including tin, tungsten, lithium and silver will be promoted as a globally-significant resource with huge investment potential.
And Cornwall’s rich mining history spanning centuries of exploration has created a legacy of world-leading expertise, a strong skills base and highly experienced supply chain to support any inward investor. The HPO announcement coincides with Saint Piran’s Day (March 5) when Cornish communities around the world celebrate the patron saint of tin miners. The Toronto Cornish Association will be raising the Cornish flag at Toronto City Hill to mark the day.
Nicola Lloyd, Director of Cornwall Trade & Investment, said: “The Department of International Trade’s recognition of the opportunities within Cornwall’s mining sector will provide significant opportunities to accelerate growth in the next generation of mining. Cornwall Trade & Investment are delighted to be working alongside DIT to promote the HPO to a global audience and to continue to collaborate with the existing mining industry in Cornwall to identify opportunities for inward investment and international trade.”
Glenn Caplin, Chief Executive of the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, which drives economic growth in the area, welcomed the launch and said: “Cornwall’s natural resources and mining expertise are among our defining characteristics and mining is a big growth opportunity. Global demand for new electronics and battery storage technology is driving exploration and Cornwall is well placed to help meet demand for ethically, environmentally and securely-sourced metals.”
Darryn Quayle, Mining Engineer & Specialist, Department for International Trade, added, “Mining in Cornwall dates back to the Bronze Age and the area was once the mining capital of the world, producing more copper and tin than anywhere on the planet and helping to drive England’s Industrial Revolution. Extraordinary potential remains in the region with discoveries of lithium, cobalt and tin that position Cornwall perfectly as a major producer of strategic metals and minerals for the UK’s own industries and Europe.”
An important factor in the HPO designation is the region’s expertise including the world-renowned Camborne School of Mines, a combined mining school and geoscience department that has been in existence for over 125 years. And Cornwall is home to what could become the first commercial geothermal power plant in the UK. Drilling is currently underway on two wells 4.5km and 2.5km deep at United Downs near Redruth to tap the heat potential of Cornish granite.
The last working tin mine in Cornwall, South Crofty, closed 21 years ago this week (March 6, 1998) but recent years have seen a resumption of interest. Canadian mineral exploration company Strongbow Exploration (TSX-V:SBW), who are also attending PDAC, acquired South Crofty in 2016 and is fully consented to dewater the mine, construct a surface processing plant and has a mining licence valid to 2071.
Australian-based resource company New Age Exploration (ASX:NAE) is pursuing a tin and tungsten project at Redmoor in South East Cornwall in partnership with Strategic Minerals Plc (LON:SML) and says drilling results have exceeded expectations. Cornish Lithium is a UK-based company focused on exploring for lithium within geothermal brines that naturally occur beneath the surface in and around Cornish granites. It aims to establish a new high-tech, environmentally responsible mining industry in the region to capitalise on increasing global demand for lithium for battery storage technologies.
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