The disused South Crofty tin mine in Pool, Cornwall has been taken over by Strongbow Exploration. The mining company stated that the development of the mine would immediately create over 100 jobs for the local community. The mining contractor also stated that once the mine becomes operational, another 275 jobs would be added.
The tin mine dates back to 1592. The mine suffered serious setbacks in 1985 after China started supplying cheap tin. The mine had to shut its doors in 1998, and the local community working in the mine was left jobless.
While several mining contractors showed interest in redeveloping the mine, nothing materialised until Strongbow Exploration managed to acquire it in March 2016. Strongbow Exploration CEO Richard Williams stated that the company decided to reopen the tin mine after changes in the market made tin an attractive metal once again.
Tin was extremely common in the 1980s and 1990s. However, in recent times, the supply of the metal has decreased and not kept pace with the demand. This has resulted in tin prices shooting up. Tin is now in demand by technology companies that use it as a lead-free solder in mobile phones. It is also used in the manufacture of lithium-ion batteries.
While the market for tin is looking up, the South Crofty tin mine is still a long way away from actual production. The mine is flooded, pointed out Williams, and the water first needs to be treated before it can be removed in a safe manner.
Williams stated that the water will be treated to remove all traces of metals, and then pumped out of the mine. He believes that this method is safe for the environment. The treatment will take about two years, but the company intends to redevelop the shafts during that period, creating 100 jobs as a result.