Could mining make a comeback in Cornwall?

Dark and damp, South Crofty tin mine in Britain's Cornwall could help revive a centuries old industry.

Cornish Metals say the mine at Redruth, which operated continuously from 1592 until it became the last mine to close in 1998, has much greater tin reserves than previously thought.

In the 1980s, tin was trading at just a few hundred dollars per ton, as opposed to around $30,000 per tonne today.

Richard Williams is the CEO of Cornish Metals.

"We think we're at the start of what we would call a technology age and there's an opportunity for Cornwall to participate in that and to supply tin to the UK needs and Europe's needs because there really aren't any domestic tin producers, none in the UK and some by-product in Spain and Portugal and there's no tin production in North America either so it really is a critical mineral to western economies."

Demand for tin, copper and lithium - all found in Cornwall - has boomed with the growth of electronics since the early 2000s.

Many in the county believe there is a real opportunity to reopen mines that have been closed for decades.

Global demand for lithium, used in the production of batteries, has also boomed with increasing desire for electric cars and mobile devices.

It is found in the geothermal waters bubbling up in the granite rocks of Cornwall and is being extracted by a start up looking to transform the production of lithium into a green, carbon negative operation.

Lucy Crane is a Senior Geologist at Cornish Lithium.

"What we're hoping to do here in Cornwall is actually produce lithium in a really environmentally responsible, low waste and low, or even net zero carbon, manner and actually produce that battery quality, battery grade product on site in Cornwall as well. So really localising supply chains for the UK automotive market."

The company is currently testing a variety of methods to extract lithium from geothermal waters and hopes to remove the use of fossil fuels from the process completely.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting