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Last Updated: Friday, 2 November 2007, 10:25 GMT
Tin mine aims to re-open in 2009
Robinson's Shaft
A row is continuing over who will develop land around the site
Europe's last tin mine could restart production in 2009, 11 years after it closed, says its owner.

Baseresult Holdings Ltd, which bought the South Crofty mine in 2001, has created a new company, Western United Mines Limited (WUM), to operate it.

The firm said it would be spending more than 50m on restarting the mine which closed in 1998.

It said rising tin prices had given the mine, first opened in the late 16th Century, another 80 years of life.

Tin prices 'buoyant'

Mark Thompson, chief investment officer with Galena Asset Management, a partner in the new venture, said: "New uses for tin, particularly in lead-free solder, will keep prices buoyant for many years to come and make an investment in tin mining a very attractive proposition."

More than 3.5m would be spent during the next seven months on continuing the mine development.

The further 50m of investment would be required by the time the mine starts production.

County councillor Mark Kaczmarek, who worked underground at South Crofty for 17 years, said the mine would "give a real boost to Cornish pride", but added "there have been promises made in the past".

Compulsory purchase

Crofty Developments, a partner of the new company, still has to resolve a row with the South West Regional Development Agency (RDA) over use of more than 30 acres of land surrounding the site.

The RDA wants to make a compulsory purchase order on the site for leisure, housing and industry, but Crofty Developments has been fighting in the High Court to retain the site.

Stephen Bohane, head of operations for the RDA in Cornwall, said: "We have not yet been able to assess Western United Mines' proposals but look forward to finding out more."

He said the RDA still intended to compulsorily purchase the land around South Crofty, or buy it through negotiation.

Two thousand mines

He said: "We would only acquire the surface site, not the mine itself.

"Planning policy dictates that mineral reserves like those at Crofty cannot be sterilised by development and that access must be maintained.

"We are committed to that and are willing to work with the mine owners to ensure that regeneration of the surface site does not compromise future access to tin."

The Cornish mining industry, which dates back to 2,000 BC, reached its peak in the 19th Century, when deep extractions got under way.

Thousands worked in up to 2,000 mines, before the industry collapsed when ores began to be produced more cheaply abroad.



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SEE ALSO
Court battle to reopen tin mine
25 Sep 07 |  Cornwall
Developer spends 50K on tin mine
08 Aug 07 |  Cornwall
Former tin mine shaft 'at-risk'
24 Jul 07 |  Cornwall
Tin mine re-opening hopes dashed
20 Oct 06 |  Cornwall
Reopening of tin mine is approved
07 Sep 06 |  Cornwall
Heritage site bid gets go-ahead
13 Jul 06 |  Cornwall

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