Following Parishioners’ questions Cornish Tin Limited has issued the following statement:
Statement from Cornish Tin Limited concerning its Exploration Drilling Plans
Cornish Tin and its team of research geologists have been working for 5 years on getting to a position where they believe there is a good chance of finding tin and copper in the old mining area of Wheal Vor. We are looking to drill approximately 35 holes of an average depth of 200 metres in a triangular area marked by Carleen, Wheal Vor and Poldown. This will take about 6 months commencing in April/May 2021. There will be 2 rigs and each hole will take approximately 10 to 15 days to drill depending on its length and the ground conditions.
Jeff Harrison informed Cornwall Council Mineral Planning Officer and Breage Parish Council in October 2020 of Cornish Tin’s plans. They were asked to keep this confidential whilst Landowners were identified and contacted. It is a sensitive issue to inform a Landowner that they do not own the mineral rights below their land and that exploration can happen and they do not need to give their permission. We consider that we have behaved courteously and professionally throughout. We have certainly not pressurised people but simply explained to them the law on mineral rights. For the few that did not believe us we asked them to talk to their solicitors and they then quickly realised we had been always truthful and honest.
We have never threatened anyone with legal action.
Over 60% of the exploration drill holes now have signed Land Access Agreements and we will continue to work with the remaining Landowners with a view to completing all the agreements by the end of February 2021.
Our plan has always been to hold a public display presentation and answer any questions before drilling commences in April/May this year. Covid restrictions will make this challenging, but instead we would be glad to participate in a series of zoom meetings with local residents to explain our plans and progress to date, listen to any views and concerns, and hopefully put people’s minds at rest. Copies of our progress reports can be circulated afterwards to anyone interested in receiving them, and posted to anyone who does not have computer access. We are pleased that Breage Parish Council are kindly hosting a zoom meeting on Tuesday 2nd February starting at 7pm until 7.45pm, which all local residents are warmly invited to attend. If you would like to attend, please contact Breage Parish Council who can invite you: (contact tel: 01326 57781/07767165077 and email: email@example.com ).
We are currently finalising the General Permitted Development Order (GPDO) that needs to be approved by the Mineral Planning Authority, in respect of our Phase 1 exploration program. This is a lengthy document which sets out how we intend to do the work safely and minimise the impact on the local community and natural environment. The work has included a Noise Monitoring Survey to establish baseline noise levels, and an Ecological Survey to ensure drill holes are not sited near sensitive environmental areas. An Archaeological Survey has also been commissioned to ensure old surface mining structures are not damaged. It is only when the GPDO work has been completed that Cornish Tin will have all the information available that can be presented to the community. This will include the conditions set by the Mineral Planning Authority. This presentation is expected to be in late February/early March and at least 6 weeks before any drilling commences.
Several people have written to say we should have informed people earlier. We would have hosted a public meeting, but, quite rightly, Covid restrictions have made this impossible. We could have made an announcement in the press at an early stage, but we decided to hold off from media contact to avoid local residents first hearing of our plans by reading it in the papers. We thought it more considerate, as a first step, to try to contact local residents on whose properties we wish to drill, on an individual basis. This we have done, by phone or email, with family members also involved as needed. Now that the Packet media group have been contacted by local residents, we were happy to respond with details of our plans when the Packet called us on Monday 25th January. The coverage seems to us very well balanced, and the comments posted online by Packet readers are interesting too.
We have been pleased to chat with anyone in the community who has contacted us, and of course we expected people to talk to each other, as has been the case. I personally have spoken to over 30 local people about the exploration drilling in the past 4 months. Covid-19 has probably prevented the normal way this news travels. There are still at least 3 months before drilling commences and plenty of time to talk and explain what we plan to do.
I have been involved in 2 previous 6-month exploration drilling programs near Kelly Bray, Callington. Initially people had concerns and worries but these soon disappeared as they saw how small and quiet the drilling rigs were. We did not have a single complaint in 12 months of drilling and many holes were just over 50 metres from properties. I am confident that most if not all of the people living where we plan to drill will not be affected in any way and of course we will always be compliant with the conditions set by the Mineral Planning Authority.
There is minimum damage to the site where the drilling takes place. Mud mats are used to minimise rutting in fields, the hole diameter is approximately 125mms at surface, the water used for drilling is kept in containers and recirculated and disposed of at a duly licenced disposal site when the drilling is completed. The site is restored, each hole is properly plugged, with soil replaced, and within a few months there is usually no evidence of drilling ever taking place.
I have had a few emails concerned about mining restarting in the area. At present, Cornish Tin is a research company, testing its theories about possible mineralisation underground by some limited and carefully plotted drilling. We may find nothing, or not enough to justify pursuing the research. Even if the results are good, it will take many years, much technical work and millions of pounds to get to the production stage. Very importantly, no mining could start without the grant of a full Planning Application. There will be ample opportunity for local people to get involved in those discussions along that journey.
Also very importantly, we do not, of course, intend to build a mine in the local community. If we did find an economically viable deposit it would be accessed by an underground sloping decline and this would likely be at a gradient of 1 in 10. So, for a deposit at 300 metres below the surface the mine portal and infrastructure could be over 3 kms from the deposit and sited and landscaped sympathetically within the environment, away from your residential community. The utilisation of best available GREEN TECH methods would minimise surface infrastructure and activity.
Of course, an important attraction for mining to return would be the significant number of well paid jobs it would provide and the knock-on benefits to the local businesses and UK economy. People often worry about house prices but with the new mining jobs in the area house prices are likely to increase.
The world is facing a great challenge to move to a zero-carbon economy and Cornwall is very keen to play its part. For this green economy of the future there are several critical metals required for electric car batteries, solar panels, wind turbines, electric circuits etc. These include tin, copper, lithium and tungsten which are all available in Cornwall. Some would say let’s continue to buy them from abroad where they still have CO2 emitting coal power stations, have poor environmental controls, poor labour laws, horrendous living and working conditions and low life expectancy and of course high shipping costs, transporting the product halfway across the world. The UK is currently completely dependent on imported tin, mainly from China and Indonesia.
We have the opportunity in Cornwall to start new modern mines using the latest GREEN MINING technologies aiming for zero carbon production and to supply the future needs of UK industry. We would no longer be reliant on other countries for these critical metals which may become in short supply and not be available for our industries.
We look forward to being able to provide further answers to residents’ questions at next Tuesday’s Parish Council meeting.
Planning and Communication, Cornish Tin Limited
29 January 2021
Planning and Communication, Cornish Tin Limited
Mobile: 07403 568 770
Chief Executive Officer, Cornish Tin Limited
Mobile: 07976 829 584