Page last updated at 17:34 GMT, Thursday, 29 April 2010 18:34 UK

Hemerdon tungsten mine plans progressing, says Wolf

Bore hole drilling at Hemerdon
Wolf has completed six water monitoring boreholes at Hemerdon

Bore holes and test pits have been completed at a former tungsten and tin mine on the edge of Dartmoor.

Australian-based Wolf Minerals hopes to restart production at Hemerdon, but there has been some local opposition since the plans were announced in 2007.

The Devon mine is believed to be one of the world's largest sources of tungsten and tin.

Wolf's archaeological plan has been also been accepted by Devon County Council and English Heritage.

The reopening of the mine could bring a welcome employment boost to the area, but some local residents are concerned about the damage to the countryside and the environment.

Tungsten, of course, is in world demand and this looks like a company that seems to have got its act right
Jeremy Filmer-Bennett, Devon and Cornwall Business Council

James Paxman, from the Dartmoor Preservation Association, said it had been impressed with Wolf's intentions.

"We've met a number of times with the mineral company and we're convinced these are good intentions and it fully intends to minimise the amount of damage," he said.

A deposit of tungsten was first discovered in 1867 and mineral working was carried out between 1919 and 1920 and again between 1934 and 1944.

Opinions in the village have been divided over the prospect of mining restarting.

'Difficult situation'

James Steadman said when he moved to the area several years ago, he was unaware an open-cast mine had ever existed at Hemerdon

"There's real concern in the village," he said.

"It was shut down many years ago and we moved here with no knowledge of it at all."

Resident Sarah Baldwin described it as a "difficult situation".

"We're all involved in different ways and there are a lot of people who really don't want it and a there are a lot who can definitely see the benefits of it," she said.

The plans for Hemerdon have been welcomed by the Devon and Cornwall Business Council.

"We have precious few mineral resources," Spokesman Jeremy Filmer-Bennett said.

"Tungsten, of course, is in world demand and this looks like a company that seems to have got its act right."

Wolf has a 40-year option and lease agreement at Hemerdon for the mineral rights and the rights to mine.

With an estimated production of 3,000 tonnes of tungsten a year, Wolf says Hemerdon could be one of the world's largest tungsten mines.

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