Page last updated at 14:14 GMT, Friday, 23 October 2009 15:14 UK

Owners expect 80 years of mining

South Crofty
The old mining apparatus will be removed from the site

A mining company has predicted that it will be exploiting old tin workings in Cornwall for the next 80 years.

South Crofty mine, near Pool, closed in 1998, but owner Western United Mines (WUM) says that the rising price of metals has made it economic again.

It says the mine could employ 200 workers directly and another 200 in associated industries.

The firm, which is investing more than £60m in the site, expects to re-open the mine in the next 12 to 18 months.

We are really a money mine rather than a tin mine
John Webster, Western United Mines

John Webster, chief operating officer at WUM, told BBC News that South Crofty was a "world class mining site".

As well as tin, WUM has found copper, zinc, silver, gold, lithium, cadmium and indium which is used to coat computer and TV screens.

Mr Webster said: "We will not be tied to demand for materials - because we can switch.

"We are really a money mine rather than a tin mine."

'Huge step'

WUM has already invested more than £12m on infrastructure and there was at least another £50m to come, the firm said.

He said: "This investment is not being made by investors who are just here for fun.

"We are looking for a long, long life.

"Early indications are that we would expect to be here at least 80 years."

He was speaking after a deal to relocate the old mine surface infrastructure to land part-owned by Cornwall Council.

The move, agreed with the the South West Regional Development Agency and the CPR urban regeneration company, will make more than 18 acres of the site available for a new link road, offices and leisure facilities.

Sandra Rothwell, head of regeneration for the South West RDA, said: "This is a huge step forward in the regeneration of Camborne, Pool and Redruth."

Carolyn Rule, Cornwall Council cabinet member for the economy and regeneration, said: "This is a vitally important area for regeneration and the council would be delighted to see mining activity return to South Crofty along with new housing and other business opportunities."

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