Mining in Cornwall
Key metals and minerals are needed to deliver the technology for the UK’s transition to clean energy, and Cornwall offers significant potential to provide them.
As the demand for clean energy technologies continues to grow, the requirement for minerals such as lithium and cobalt could increase by nearly 500%, by 2050.
Cornwall has a long and successful history of mining and a rich mineral endowment. It offers investment opportunities in the exploration and extraction of many commodities required for the manufacture of clean energy solutions.
Foreign direct investment
Sector and market opportunity
Cornwall’s mining district has an abundance of metal and mineral deposits that are sizeable, accessible and supported by a thriving mining service and supply chain. These technology and base metals found in Cornwall include copper, tin, lithium, cobalt, indium, zinc, tungsten and silver.
The region offers opportunities for investment in extraction of these metals, and within associated supply chain development.
Global demand for base and high-technology metals is expected to grow significantly, driven by increased demand for materials needed to deliver clean growth ambitions.
Cornwall has a long mining history which has seen the establishment of an extensive mining supply chain. The county has extensive kaolin extraction operations and is developing lithium projects from both brines and hard rock. Investment in the use of tin, copper and geothermal resources is also underway, generating a dynamic cluster of mining expertise.
Cornwall provides access to a local but internationally active mining supply chain with over 100 companies across the mining lifecycle.
Cornwall provides a fully integrated logistics and transport network with direct rail links and flights to major UK and European locations. The region has 7 strategically located ports, including the rail-connected port of Fowey.
Local talent and skills
Cornwall provides access to world class research and skills, with the world-renowned Camborne School of Mines providing a steady stream of industry-ready graduates.
Higher education institutes in Cornwall and Devon also support a pipeline of over 900 graduates per annum, with mining-relevant qualifications.
Research and expertise
The region provides access to world-class mining research at the University of Exeter and the University of Plymouth. R&D programmes such as Deep Digital Cornwall are addressing industry issues including technology, training, sustainability, exploration, extraction and processing.
The Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Centre in Technology Metals aims to revolutionise how crucial metals are extracted, used and reused in clean and digital technologies across the UK.
South of England
The region is home to 21 million people. It offers opportunities across a wide range of sectors from nuclear and aerospace, to life science and new technologies. There are vibrant clusters of expertise spanning 5G, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence.
Enabling clean growth
The global imperative to develop next generation clean growth technologies is driving the demand for high-tech metals. The electric vehicle revolution is also increasing the need for readily available battery-metals.
This demand is expected to exceed the capacity of current mines around the world, creating significant opportunities to source such metals from Cornwall.
Local and national government support
The Cornwall Mining Alliance offers local knowledge and global expertise. Over 100 members can provide services across the mining lifecycle, including exploration, geological analysis, ecological, mineral processing, mining engineering and equipment.
Cornwall Trade and Investment can provide support and assistance, including potential funding support. The team can also connect investors to wider business services, helping them make connections and access talent.
IMERYS is the world leader in mineral based specialities, transforming a large variety of minerals into high value products for the industry.
IMERYS’ activities in Cornwall focus on kaolin (China clay) extraction and processing. This has made the UK the world’s third largest producer and exporter of kaolin.
Cornish Metals is a Canadian mineral exploration company developing strategic metals projects in the UK and North America.
Its flagship project is the South Crofty tin mine in Cornwall, which hosts one of the highest-grade tin resources globally.
Cornish Lithium is an innovative, eco-technology company. It’s focused on mineral exploration and development, particularly the environmentally sustainable extraction of lithium in Cornwall’s historic mining district.
The company is re-evaluating the region for lithium and other technology metals using Direct Lithium Extraction (DLE) technology. DLE is aimed at selectively removing lithium compounds from geothermal waters.
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