Cornish Metals has raised £40.5 million, providing sufficient capital to advance the South Crofty tin project to a Definitive Feasibility Study.
Cornish Metals acquired the historic South Crofty mine in 2016. Located in the famous tin-producing region of Cornwall, UK, the mine was active for 400 years before closure in 1998.
Since acquiring the project six years ago, Cornish Metals has completed a maiden Mineral Resource Estimate and a Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA). The PEA demonstrated the economic viability of reopening the mine, but a major roadblock has been the dewatering of the historic underground workings, which were flooded when the mine was closed.
However, Cornish Metals now have sufficient capital to advance the mine’s development. The majority of the funds (some £25 million) have been invested by Vision Blue Resources, a metals and mining investment fund focused on the resources necessary for the clean energy transition. Sir Mick Davis, CEO of Vision Blue Resources, emphasised the environmental importance of restarting a historic mine within an existing footprint, providing an opportunity to “minimise environmental and other impacts, whilst creating significant benefits for local communities”.
The remainder of the funds are set to come from a private placement to UK-based institutional investors, as well as existing private investors.
This capital raise has initiated a 30-month work programme to advance the mine. Much of this time will be spent dewatering the mine – some 24 months, including preparatory work. However, other work will take place alongside that, including surface drilling for metallurgical samples and underground Resource drilling once the underground pump station has been refurbished. The company plans to expedite the Definitive Feasibility Study, with finalisation targeted some six months after dewatering is completed.
Our view: Receiving funds to dewater South Crofty is a huge step for Cornish Metals. By taking advantage of existing mining infrastructure, with environmental and planning permits already in place, the company should be able to bring one of the highest-grade tin projects online relatively soon.
According to Cornish Metals, production at South Crofty could begin some 48 months from now. Once operational, the company expects the mine to produce some 4,500 tonnes of tin annually, making South Crofty the biggest primary tin mine in Europe.
Cornish Metals is a member of ITA’s Explorers and Developers Group.