Revival of British metal mining industry


Revival of British metal mining industry


Britain is currently seen by various mining firms as a profitable destination for new projects with its uncovered deposits of strategic metals, which has the potential to revive the country’s mining industry and generate engineering jobs.


Although analysts argue that Britain is unlikely to experience another mining boom, the revival of the industry is highly anticipated. Due to the current environment of competitive labour costs and tax rates, as well as deposits of strategic metals - a vital component in technology and industry – the revival of the mining industry can significantly benefit the country’s economy.


The UK has deposits of valuable metals such as tin - used in mobile phones, and tungsten - used to make drilling tools - as well as antimony and tellurium - used in the semiconductor industry - seen as a vital resource in the long-term as the demand for electronic devices is on an exponential curve in the developing world.


The southwest regions of Cornwall and Devon experienced extensive mining in the 19th century when metals including copper, lead and tin were in high demand. However, in the following years the lower cost operations in Latin America, Asia and Africa resulted in the termination of a number of projects, leaving many sites abandoned.


According to Australia's Wolf Minerals, it expects its first production of tin and tungsten by 2015 at its Hemerdon mine in Devon, which is currently the world's third-largest tungsten mine. 


There is a potential for another tin project by Treliver Minerals, which is subject to exploration works in Cornwall.


Andrew Bloodworth, science director for minerals and waste at the British Geological Survey (BGS) said: "The Wolf Minerals investment has catalysed other people to come and look for deposits in the UK.


"If an Australian company can come in and put together a project and get all the permissions, that sends a hugely important signal to other people to say you can do this."


Bloodworth stated that BGS is conducting a geophysical survey to map soils and rocks in the UK’s southwest regions. These areas are increasingly attracting various groups from the mining community, as the industry seeks out alternative sources for strategic metals.


"Concerns about the supply of some 'critical' or 'strategic' metals has also driven investor interest. The concentration of about 80 percent of global tungsten production in China has driven people to look for deposits elsewhere,” he added.


Photo Source: Ecowatch