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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 June, 2003, 05:42 GMT 06:42 UK
Tin mine 'on course' to reopen
Crofty
Owners say they can make the mine pay
Preparations are due to start to bring the UK's last tin mine, South Crofty, back into production.

The mine's owners, Baseresult Holdings, said pumping at the mine - which closed in 1998 - was expected to start within a year.

A government regeneration authority has warned Baseresult that if it does not start tin production, or put forward an alternative development plan, it will buy the site in a compulsory purchase.

Kevin Williams, managing director of Baseresult and mine manager at South Crofty, said he was confident the firm would satisfy the requirements.

It's all tried and tested
Kevin Williams, Baseresult

Once in full production, Mr Williams said the mine would employ about 200 people.

Mr Williams, who worked at Geevor tin mine in Cornwall for 15 years, said: "We have devised a method to operate the mine so that cash operating costs are lower than the lowest tin price since the 1985 crash, somewhere around $3,600 (a tonne)."

"We know how to do it.

"It's just a matter of putting the process into effect given the nuances of this mine. It's all tried and tested."

When asked who was financing the project, Mr Williams said: "I am not in a position to name the backer."

"(I am) open to approaches from other backers, but finances are currently satisfactory."

Costs warning

When the mine closed it was producing a relatively small 2,100 tonnes of tin in concentrate per year.

Mark Kaczmarek, a local councillor who was a miner at South Crofty for 17 years, said he was pessimistic about the reopening.

He said: "When it was working, we were pumping one million gallons a day to keep dry.

"If you pump two million gallons per day it will take three years to dewater the mine. When it was operating, pumping costs were over 1m per year."

The Camborne, Pool and Redruth Regeneration Company, said the compulsory purchase order would take about two years to get to the inquiry stage.

If by then Baseresult had any realistic prospects of doing anything at the mine, the order could be held in abeyance for a period of up to a maximum of three years.

Suggestions for future uses included a leisure centre, an indoor surfing centre, a white water canoe course, as well as homes, offices and a heritage attraction.




SEE ALSO:
Owner's pledge on Crofty
07 Mar 03  |  England
Cornwall's last chance
27 Jan 00  |  Business


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