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The rebirth of sustainable mining in Cornwall

The rebirth of sustainable mining in Cornwall, the UK’s strategic metals powerhouse.

Cornwall has long been the centre of the UK’s mining industry, with a storied history dating back as far as the Bronze Age. Famous for its china clay, base metal and tin production, Cornwall was the mining centre of the world during the 18th century – extracting clay, copper, silver and zinc.

Cornish miners were considered the best hard rock miners, leading the industry with their skills and innovative technology, which was exported globally. In 1888 this expertise resulted in the founding of the world-famous Camborne School of Mines.

Today, over 130 years on, a new wave of mining innovation is sweeping across the region. As we shift towards decarbonising all aspects of economy and society, the identification and sustainable mining of strategic metals will become key to de-risking supply chains to fuel the energy demands of a cleaner, greener future for the UK.

Indeed, demand growth for strategic metals is forecast to significantly increase in the near future – with at least 400% increase in demand for lithium within six years. Cornwall has the potential to supply 66% of Britain’s lithium demand – the equivalent of 1 million electric vehicles per year, vital if the UK is to deliver on the government’s policy to phase out of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030.

Cornwall has an abundance of high-grade lithium, tin, copper, tungsten and other strategic metals ready to be extracted in one of the most politically and fiscally stable mining jurisdictions. This makes the region a prime location for the exploration and extraction of the resources needed to meet increasing global demand, leading to many companies and institutions now investing in the opportunities Cornwall has to offer.

The significance of Cornwall’s lithium potential has already been recognised by investors globally. Last month Cornish Lithium, an innovative mineral exploration and research and development company, secured £6 million in private investment including £2 million raised through a public crowdfunding campaign that sold out in just fifteen minutes – all based on a value that has doubled since October 2020.

The company also recently secured a share in £9.4m in Government investment as they work towards a full-scale lithium extraction plant in Cornwall. Their Trelavour Hard Rock Lithium Scoping Study will assess the feasibility of developing a sustainable UK supply chain, through the construction of an extraction plant that will produce low-carbon lithium hydroxide from a hard rock source in St Austell.

British Lithium is also developing commercial extraction of lithium carbonate from the mica in granite in Cornwall an ethical, environmentally responsible way. They are currently working on the build of a pilot plant in Cornwall to demonstrate real-world conditions and produce battery-grade lithium carbonate. In the past three months British Lithium has applied for three patents. They are developing innovative Li-Sep technology to firstly concentrate the lithium-mica that occurs in granite without the use of acid, and then to extract the lithium carbonate from the mica with minimum carbon emissions and waste. The technology is benchmarked to all existing producers (by Roskill Sustainability monitor) and promises to have a low carbon footprint.

And it’s not just Lithium. Cornwall Resources (CRL) are actively exploring for tin, tungsten, and copper at the Redmoor project, located near to Kelly Bray in east Cornwall. A subsidiary of Strategic Minerals plc – a British company listed on the London AIM market – CRL is currently targeting a potentially economic high-grade resource through a combination of new drilling and substantial previous data. Through this unique combination, CRL has developed a “Zero Harm” strategy – not compromising Health, Safety, the Environment or Community. Following a program of drilling in 2017, CRL were able to successfully increase the Redmoor Inferred resource and work is now underway to further delineate the resource.

Another organisation boosting the region’s mining capabilities is Cornish Metals. Spotting the potential in Cornwall, through the acquisition of the South Crofty mine, this AIM and TSX-listed exploration company has positioned itself at the heart of the sector, paving the way for the production of ‘clean tin’. Following a successful exploration drilling campaign in 2020, the company has recently announced that a second phase of exploration drilling has commenced at its United Downs copper-tin project.

These are just some examples of the current activities in Cornwall. Innovations in exploration and extraction technologies are revealing the commercial potential in the region, opening up a world of new possibilities for the future of Cornish mining.

Cornwall is one of the most prospective areas in the UK – often described as “one of the world’s most heavily mined but under explored mineral provinces”. The region has more than 100 companies supporting a developed and growing mining cluster, with a steady pipeline of graduates and access to world-class research and development from institutions such as Plymouth University’s School of Geography, Earth & Environmental Science, the University of Exeter’s Camborne School of Mines and Deep Digital Cornwall – a £4m project launched to unlock the underground environment.

With the resources beneath our feet, the region has the potential to be a flagship area for ‘climate-smart mining’ – offering a huge amount of potential for companies within the sector and attracting a range of ethical investment. With the mining industry already connected to circular economy approaches and with the history of innovation and learning to lead the way in practices globally, now is the time to take advantage of the next generation of industry happening in Cornwall.

If you want to know more, recently Cornwall Trade and Investment joined forces with the Department for International Trade to host an industry-wide live event showcasing the mining opportunities on offer in Cornwall. You can watch the full video here. Or you can download our mining investment information pack below

Marine-i has called on businesses in Cornwall to seize the opportunity offered by a new Government funding scheme that will support the development of innovative floating offshore wind technologies. Marine-i has also offered practical support to these businesses, by providing access to world-class testing facilities and assisting in the formation of new collaborations between companies.

Part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, Marine-i is designed to help the marine technology sector in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly grow through harnessing the full potential of research and innovation.

Wind turbine
Image by Principle Power Inc

The Floating Offshore Wind Demonstration Programme is a new funding call which has been announced by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS). It reflects the UK Government’s target for floating offshore wind to deliver 1GW of energy by 2030.

Floating offshore wind (FLOW) is a fast growing industry worldwide. It enables wind turbines to operate in deeper seas, where the winds are stronger. The Celtic Sea has been identified as one of the best potential sites in Europe.

BEIS is making up to £17.5 million of funding available for this programme. The aim is to deliver  multiple demonstration projects, which will take place until end of March 2024, and will cover a range of FLOW technology challenges. These include mooring and anchoring, dynamic cables, and floaters and foundations.

Prof Lars Johanning, Programme Director for Marine-i, says: “This is an excellent initiative and local marine tech businesses should take full advantage of it. The Marine-i team will offer any assistance they can to these companies in preparing their bids.”

“Through the Marine-i project, they can also get access to over 20 world class offshore renewables test facilities, backed up by leading-edge research expertise from the University of Exeter and University of Plymouth. These technology challenges for FLOW may well require a number of businesses to work in collaboration in their delivery. Marine-i is prepared to use its experience in this area to help facilitate the forming of these new consortia.”

“Floating offshore wind is poised to be a huge opportunity for Cornwall and the South West. I would urge businesses to start formulating their bids as soon as possible, ahead of the closing date for applications of 18th June 2021.”

Expert support from Marine-i is helping 3D printing specialist J-Supplied to develop large scale technology to produce bespoke parts for the floating offshore wind industry, such as custom-designed turbine blades. Part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, Marine-i  aims to help the marine tech sector in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly grow through harnessing the full potential of research and innovation.

From its base in Cornwall, J-Supplied has established a strong reputation as a provider of 3D printing machines and manufacturer of 3D-printed products. The emergence of floating offshore wind  as a major strategic growth area for the marine tech industry in south west England has prompted the company to diversify into this area, as their Managing Director, Martin Jewell, explains:

“The ability to print large scale, low volume products is currently restricted by the commercially available equipment on the market. Typically, these can only manufacture products up to a 3m x 1m footprint. We identified the offshore renewable energy sector as the focus for a major innovation project to address this issue. Our vision is to have ‘warehouse size’ gantries that would enable a 5 axis robotic 3D Printer to produce very large products, such as turbine blades. This would break completely new ground for our industry.”

Wind Turbine Cornwall

Marine-i, is providing a comprehensive package of RD&I support which includes market analysis by Marine-i partner, Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, highlighting the most important commercial opportunities for the technology in floating offshore wind, and bespoke research by the University of Plymouth Digital Fabrication Laboratory, to develop processes to optimise this new technology.      

Professor Lars Johanning of University of Exeter, lead partner for Marine-i, says: “J-Supplied should be applauded for the scale and ambition of their thinking. As well as being a major commercial opportunity for their business, this new process would have huge benefits for the global floating offshore wind industry.”  

On 10th February, a special online workshop will be taking place, examining how 3D printing may be used in the production of wind turbine blades. There will be an opportunity to hear from leading experts  and to help shape a future transnational innovative project in this field. Delegates can register for this free event by visiting: www.marine-i.co.uk/events   

Cornwall’s manufacturing, engineering and technology clusters are rapidly expanding across the region, and it’s thanks to innovative new workspaces like the Enterprise Space for Advanced Engineering (ESAM).

As the first phase of the new Carluddon Technology Park in St Austell, ESAM is a space designed to encourage innovation in manufacturing, engineering, and low carbon environmental goods and services, and support collaboration between organisations operating in those industries.

But, the space is being used for far more than its name suggests. While it’s designed with engineering-focused sectors in mind, it’s an adaptable workspace for any type of business – whether you’re a timepiece repairer or a large-scale branding and merchandise firm.

Renewed innovation on historic land

With 32 high-quality and adaptable business units – including offices, workshops, light industrial units, and hot desking facilities – ESAM’s workspaces can be flexed to your businesses needs.

ESAM’s management designed the building as a space to explore ideas, test products, and bring concepts to life. Its shared areas, breakout spaces, bookable meeting rooms and audio-visual conferencing facilities make it an ideal space for collaboration between teams, while it’s affordable hot desking provides options for ambitious entrepreneurs.

And for businesses looking to develop prototypes and establish small-scale manufacturing productions, ESAM’s industrial units are an ideal fit. The building’s site even has opportunity for businesses to expand their operations and build external units as they grow.

The facilities and support to accelerate growth

It’s not just the workspaces that makes ESAM such a compelling option for businesses – it also has all the key facilities and services business leaders need to succeed. With on-site car parking and electric vehicle charging for occupiers and visitors, superfast fibre broadband, and secure 24-hour access, the building has everything you’d expect from a modern workspace. And being conveniently located next to the A3/A391, it remains connected to the rest of the region and beyond.

The workspace also hosts dedicated support services set up to help businesses thrive at ESAM. The Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Growth Hub has an on-site office to help occupiers at ESAM find funding opportunities, export to the rest of the U.K and Europe, and strategically grow their businesses.

And like all buildings funded by the European Regional Development Fund, ESAM is listed as excellent under BREEAM standards due to its natural air conditioning, solar power, and low-carbon energy ratings – so your business can ensure minimal environmental impact.

It’s not just a compelling place to work either. ESAM is at the heart of the West Carclaze Garden Village, an exciting new community built on top of a history china clay mining site. It will share the space with an eco-town of 5,000 homes, complete with two solar farms, key facilities like a community centre and a 420-place primary school, and more than 500 acres of green space.

St Austell Land

A scalable workspace solution for a global brand

ESAM has been the perfect place for branding and merchandising company Fluid Branding to expand its team. With offices spread across the world in London, Amsterdam, China, and other locations, ESAM offered an ideal opportunity to establish Fluid Branding’s Cornwall office.

The company’s 20% year-on-year growth meant it needed an easily scalable workspace option, with all the facilities it necessary for serving its global customer base. ESAM’s industrial workshops and office units made it a suitable place to host the company’s design, creative, sales, and tech teams all under one roof – and the business support on-site has been critical to Fluid’s continued success.

“We are delighted that we reaffirmed our commitment to Cornwall and the St Austell Area – where it all started for us – by investing in this important move to our new headquarters at ESAM,” says Miles Lovegrove, Managing Director of Fluid Branding . “We gained our B Corporation certification in 2019, so the building’s modern design, energy efficiency and eco credentials reflect our brand values.  It’s a fantastic landmark building in an inspirational location which has allowed us to grow, think and to really scale up our plans for 2021”

Explore ESAM for yourself

If you think your business could find success at ESAM, or if you’re just looking to find out more about the workspace, visit the website or get in touch with Choose Cornwall at info@choosecornwall.co.uk.

And if you’d like to explore more innovative workspaces in Cornwall, speak to our team today – we’d love to help you find your perfect location.


 A closer look at Newquay’s thriving business community 

Whether it’s the promise of a comfortable work-life balance, or the draw of the region’s innovative spirit, there are many different reasons why businesses choose Cornwall. And with exciting new workspaces like Prow Park springing up across the county, the list just keeps growing. 

Based in the centre of Newquay, Prow Park hosts some of Cornwall’s most forward-thinking companies, spanning every industry from finance and SEO marketing to sustainable product design and creative advertising. 

But it’s more than just a workspace. Prow Park’s founders have created a collaborative community and culture for businesses to grow in – with all the facilities they need to perform at their best. 

What’s on offer at Prow Park? 

Prow Park has everything you’d expect from a modern workspace rental, with purpose-built conference rooms, superfast broadband, accessible parking and out-of-hours security. But the business park really stands out when you start to explore the additional services and support its team offers. 

The concept was brought to life by some of Cornwall’s leading business minds, who are always on-hand to offer startup support, help establish funding connections and give business advice to any entrepreneurs looking for a helping hand. Paired with on-site capacity for marketing, design, promotion and branding, the park provides new businesses with an ideal environment to grow their ideas – and existing businesses with the resources they need to grow further. 

Thanks to the park’s diverse variety of workspaces, it’s suitable for a wide range of companies too. Prow Park offers purpose-built warehouses, flexible-term office suites, modern workshops and studios, and flexible hot desks, which means any business – from industrial manufacturers to creative market agencies – can find a home there. 

While newly-developed, the park already has more than its fair share of success stories to celebrate – and few stand out more than sustainable fashion company Waterhaul. 

Finding a location that matches company ethos 

Waterhaul’s business and operating model is built around sustainability – turning unwanted, harmful raw materials like used fishing nets into fashionable, high-performance sunglasses. With such a strong focus on his company’s environmental impact, Waterhaul’s CEO and founder Harry Dennis wanted to find a location that was both close to the source of those raw materials, and matched the company’s values. 

Prow Park was the ideal choice, located just a few miles from dozens of beaches, and holding a strong identity based on supporting local startups and sustainability-focused projects. The entire business park evolved out of shipping containers, which were recycled and renovated to create a series of office and retail units over the ground and first floor – making it a practical and sustainable workspace solution for Waterhaul. 

“Newquay is a great place to find likeminded people who are interested in making a difference and passionate about marine conservation,” explained Harry. “When I viewed Prow Park, the owners introduced me to multiple tenants who might be able to help my business. By the end of our viewing, I was already connected with a new source for my raw materials, and a marketing partner to help grow Waterhaul’s sales and brand awareness online.” 

Explore Prow Park for yourself 

If you think your business could thrive in Prow Park, or if you’re just looking to find out more about the innovative workspace, visit the website or get in touch with the park’s founders to find out more. 

And if you’d like to explore more unique workspaces in Cornwall, speak to our team today – we’d love to help you find your perfect location. 

The rebirth of sustainable mining in Cornwall

The rebirth of sustainable mining in Cornwall, the UK’s strategic metals powerhouse.

Wind turbine
New funding scheme is a huge opportunity for businesses in Cornwall, says Marine-i

Marine-i has called on businesses in Cornwall to seize the opportunity offered by a new Government funding scheme that will support the development of innovative floating offshore wind technologies. Marine-i has also offered practical support to these businesses, by providing access to world-class testing facilities and assisting in the formation of new collaborations between companies. […]

Wind Turbine Cornwall
Marine-i supports pioneering 3D printing innovation for floating offshore wind

Expert support from Marine-i is helping 3D printing specialist J-Supplied to develop large scale technology to produce bespoke parts for the floating offshore wind industry, such as custom-designed turbine blades. Part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, Marine-i  aims to help the marine tech sector in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly grow through […]

ESAM 1
Workspace spotlight: Enterprise Space for Advanced Engineering (ESAM)

Cornwall’s manufacturing, engineering and technology clusters are rapidly expanding across the region, and it’s thanks to innovative new workspaces like the Enterprise Space for Advanced Engineering (ESAM). As the first phase of the new Carluddon Technology Park in St Austell, ESAM is a space designed to encourage innovation in manufacturing, engineering, and low carbon environmental […]

Prow Park Newquay
Workspace spotlight: Prow Park

 A closer look at Newquay’s thriving business community  Whether it’s the promise of a comfortable work-life balance, or the draw of the region’s innovative spirit, there are many different reasons why businesses choose Cornwall. And with exciting new workspaces like Prow Park springing up across the county, the list just keeps growing.  Based in the centre of Newquay, Prow Park hosts some of Cornwall’s most […]

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