South Crofty mine bosses give date for tin to come out of the ground again

South Crofty tin mine could reopen by 2027 said owners Cornish Metals
South Crofty tin mine could reopen by 2027 said owners Cornish Metals -Credit:Greg Martin / Cornwall Live

High value tin could once again come out of Cornwall's last operational mine soon. Cornish Metals, the owners of South Crofty mine in Pool, near Camborne, believes the iconic site which closed in 1998 after almost 400 years of exploitation will come back to life once again in 2027.

The Canadian-owned firm, formerly Strongbow, said the price of tin is such that all tests carried on site over the past few years point towards the economic viability of the mine and reopening it almost 30 years after it shut down. A recent preliminary economic assessment (PEA) conducted at the mine by Cornish Metals shows that there are 49,310 tonnes of tin in the ground at South Crofty and with the price of tin currently at $31,000 (£24,800) a tonne a tonne the project could be worth more than $200m (£160m) over 14 years.

The report said the mine also offers growth opportunities from additional in-mine and near-mine exploration with the potential to extend the mine's life and increase production over the years. South Crofty's owners have mining permission up to 2071 and full planning permission in place to build a processing plant to recover the tin.

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It also said that the mine, when fully operational, could directly create 320 highly-paid jobs and could also create up to 1,000 indirect jobs. Ken Armstrong, interim CEO and director of Cornish Metals, said: “This preliminary economic assessment (PEA) is an important milestone for Cornish Metals and our goal of bringing responsible tin mining back to Cornwall and the United Kingdom. South Crofty is a strategic asset as tin is recognised as a critical metal by the United Kingdom and other national governments, while there is currently no primary tin production in Europe or North America."

He added: "Most often PEAs are completed prior to entering the mine permitting process. South Crofty has the advantage of having already cleared these hurdles and benefits from an existing mine permit and process plant construction permissions as well as existing mining, transportation and renewable energy infrastructure."

Owen Mihalop, chief operating officer of Cornish Metals, added: "The PEA results are compelling. This represents a strong foundation for further evaluation of the project, enabling the company to move forward with additional preparation work and progress towards a construction decision, with planned first tin production in 2027.

"We believe the opportunities for mineral resource expansion at South Crofty, and beyond, are significant and this will come into focus when the current mine dewatering and shaft refurbishment project is complete by Q3 2025, and new mineral resource definition and exploration drilling can be undertaken in parallel with a potential construction decision for the project."