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Cornish Metals: breathing new life into Cornwall’s mining history

We take a look at Cornish Metals Inc., the company behind the high-grade copper and tin exploration at United Downs and the South Crofty mine.

Cornish Metals Inc. is building a portfolio of strategic metals assets in the UK and North America, with a focus on high-grade copper and tin mineralisation. With two major UK projects currently in progress, the company will play a fundamental role in providing materials essential for technology sector growth, and helping to guide our country’s transition to a low-carbon economy.

The South Crofty project

In 2016, Cornish Metals acquired the South Crofty mine, one of the highest-grade undeveloped tin resources in the world. Tin mining in this region dates back to 2,300 B.C., and large-scale mining first started at South Crofty in the mid-1600s. The mine has been closed since 1998, but a growing demand for tin has given Cornish Metals the chance to resurrect a piece of mining history.

The mine currently has an active mining permit valid until 2071, planning permission for a new processing plant, and an environmental permit for de-watering, making it a great, long-term strategic asset for Cornish Metals.

“South Crofty is not just an old operation,” says Owen Mihalop, COO at Cornish Metals. “It’s a brand-new project leveraged within an existing infrastructure.”

The richest square mile on earth    

With the acquisition of South Crofty, Cornish Metals also gained mineral rights to approximately 15,000 hectares of land scattered across the county. These included United Downs – home of the United Downs copper-tin project, where near-surface, high-grade tin-copper mineralisation was discovered in 2020.

United Downs sits in an area with such an abundant mining heritage it was once called ‘the richest square mile on earth’. Huge quantities of copper and tin were produced here in the early 18th and 19th centuries. Over the next three years, the company plans to conduct a phased exploration program to demonstrate the feasibility and reward of once again mining the site.


Collaboration in Cornwall

Over 100 different mining service providers work in Cornwall, providing numerous collaboration opportunities for Cornish Metals. One agreement allows Cornish Lithium to test for lithium brines on all the mineral rights owned by Cornish Metals.. In return for access to its minerals, Cornish Metals receives royalties from any metals produced from brines, and any geothermal energy produced and sold on as a consequence.

A growing market opportunity

Cornwall is a rich resource of copper and tin. Together, these materials are fundamental to growth in the technology sector, being used in robotics, solar power, 5G and cloud storage.

Market analysts are predicting a growing deficit of these materials in the coming years, which should mean a huge market opportunity for Cornish Metals and the Cornish mining region as a whole. In particular, tin production has been in decline since 2015, and there is no primary production in Europe or North America – despite it being listed as a critical mineral by the US government.

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