Friday, 22 February 2019

Updates on Cornwall Mining at the February sundowner

Last night's Cornish Mining Sundowner was held in the Stannary Bar in the University of Exeter's Tremough Campus, Penryn.
Before we adjourned to the bar there were three presentations, with news of the three major mining projects in the county.

Owen Mihalop, COO of Strongbow's South Crofty Tin Project, one of the world's highest grade hard-rock tin deposits, said that the project was on course for start-up in 2020. Dewatering of the mine, which closed in 1998, is now a priority, and a treatment plant is underway to treat the water which will be discharged into the nearby Red River. Processing of the ore will be based on that of the old Wheal Jane mill, which treated the South Crofty ore in the late '90s, by gravity and flotation at a recovery of 85-90% tin. It is envisaged that the mill will process up to 1500 tpd, with preconcentration either by DMS or electronic sorting. DMS was used at the old South Crofty mill, but major advances in electronic sorting (which will be highlighted at Physical Separation '19 in June) might mean that this method may be adopted. There will be no tailings dam, as it is planned to backfill new and old worked out stopes using thickened tailings paste.

Owen Mihalop (left) with sundowner regulars Phil Gerrish, Alan Matthews and Dean Eastbury
Brett Grist, Exploration Manager of Cornwall Resources' Redmoor Project, updated us on progress of The Redmoor Tin-Tungsten-Copper Project,  which is located between the village of Kelly Bray and the small town of Callington in southeast Cornwall. The original Redmoor Mine is one of a group of mines that were opened in the 18th century and continued operating until 1892 when they were forced to close due to low tin prices. Sections of the Redmoor Mine were re-opened between 1907 and 1914 and again in 1934. Redmoor now ranks as one of the leading undeveloped tin-tungsten mining projects in the world, said Brett, who highlighted the world-class potential of the Redmoor project as it recently revealed a new mineral resource estimate. It is estimated that Redmoor contains some 137,000 tonnes of inferred tin resources, up from 45,000 tonnes. This provides the company and its joint venture partner, New Age Exploration, confidence to progress towards the goal of restarting mining at Redmoor.
Brett Grist (2nd left) with CSM students
Lucy Crane provided an update on Cornish Lithium, which is focused on exploring for lithium within the hot geothermal brines that naturally occur deep within and around the Cornish granites. Lucy is an exploration geologist and Corporate Development Associate with Cornish Lithium and recently one of the winners of Cornwall’s prestigious 30 Under 30 Awards,  which celebrate Cornwall’s brightest young business talent and those entrepreneurs doing great things in the county.
Lucy Crane with Cornish Lithium colleagues Harry Scott and Tom Naylor
Cornish Lithium now has a team of 11 geologists and metallurgists, who are targeting and mapping the deep sources of lithium brines in the old mining areas of west Cornwall. The brines average 227 mg/l and as the standard method of concentrating such brines, evaporation, is not an option in Cornwall's climate, it is likely that a process based on reverse osmosis and ion-exchange might eventually be adopted.

Interestingly the International Tin Association (ITA) last week released a timely report comprehensively detailing its latest research on potential new market opportunities for tin in lithium-ion batteries. The ITA tracks global R&D, patents and markets for tin and has identified a strongly growing interest in tin in energy materials and technologies, including lithium-ion batteries. Tin has a wide range of technical properties that mean its uses extend to many areas of everyday life. For the same reason, it can adapt well to meet emerging needs for new materials that can generate, store and deliver tomorrow’s energy. ITA has identified nine technology opportunities for tin in lithium-ion batteries, at the same time reviewing the current state of development in lithium-ion batteries generally, including the latest market data for applications in electric vehicles and energy storage.
Pete Ledingham, Project Manager for the United Downs Deep Geothermal Power project (UDDGP) was one of the many attendees last night. The UDDGP aims to prove the technical and commercial viability of generating electricity from geothermal energy in Cornwall. Drilling began 3 months ago (posting of 1st November 2018) and already the first well is the deepest hole in Cornwall! Last week it passed the previous deepest, that of the Rosemenowes Hot Dry Rocks Project, which attained a depth of  2,660m in the 1980s. UDDGP plans on eventually being the deepest in the UK at 4,500m.
Pete Ledingham (3rd left) with Steve Barber, Frances Wall and Nick Eastwood
I was pleased to be able to congratulate Nick Wilshaw, Managing Director of Cornish-based Grinding Solutions Ltd (GSL) on his appointment as a Director of Australian-based Coalition for Eco-Efficient Comminution (CEEC) (MEI Online). CEEC is an Industry Advocate for MEI's Physical Separation '19, Comminution '20 and Sustainable Minerals '20, and GSL is a sponsor of Comminution '20.
With Nick Wilshaw (centre) and Hylke Glass
As I've said many times before- it is all happening down here in Cornwall!

Twitter @barrywills

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