Before restarting tin production, Canadian mineral exploration company Cornish Metals plans to start full scale dewatering operations at its South Crofty project in Cornwall by the summer.
Being operated during the 16th century until its closure in 1998, South Crofty is a historical, high-grade underground tin mine and it is the fourth highest grade tin resource globally.
In 2016, Cornish Metals acquired the companies that owned the South Crofty tin project, hence in order to reopen the mine, it has been looking for ways.
Involving a mining license valid until 2071, planning permission to construct a new process plant as well as a permit from the Environment Agency to dewater the mine, this project is fully permitted.
In accordance with its recent update, the company stated that it is on track to launch the mine’s water treatment plant in June this year, while the expected date for beginning full scale dewatering operations is July.
It hopes to start producing tin at the mine in 2026, which it has said will coincide with projected deficits in tin supply.
Carrying out metallurgical and feasibility studies, as well as exploration work, were the contents of this project ahead of full scale dewatering. Previous year, the company reported on progress made on the mine dewatering program.
In order to constructing the mine water treatment plant, dewater the mine and completing a feasibility study, Cornish Metals completed a £40.5M funding round in May 2022.
According to the previous guidance, construction costs for the mine water treatment plant has remained £6.5M to £7M.
The daily capacity of this plant is treating 25,000m3 of mine water, whereas at this rate, mine dewatering is estimated to take 18 months, through to the end of 2024.
The location of discharged the treated water via the Dolcoath Deep Adit will be Red River. Since South Crofty closed in 1998, untreated mine water has directly entered the river, so dewatering the mine and treating the water will have a positive effect on the Red River water quality.
Cornish Metals CEO Richard Williams said: “We have made very good progress over the last eight months, building an experienced and highly motivated team at South Crofty. The company remains on track to commission the mine water treatment plant in June this year, with the objective of commencing full scale dewatering operations in July.”
Considering the growing demand from the electronics sector, electric vehicles and renewable power, especially solar cells, the company expects demand for tin to increasingly outstrip supply in coming years.