Tin projects and operations in the United Kingdom have reported a number of positive developments in recent months, with signs of progress and capital raising at the South Crofty and Redmoor mine projects in Cornwall and key regulatory approvals attained for further development and expansion at the Drakelands tungsten-tin mine near Plymouth.
In mid-November, Strongbow Exploration Inc. announced the commencement of water treatment trials at its 100% owned South Crofty mine. Once the trials are complete in early 2017, the company will apply for a permit to dewater the mine, which is expected to take 18 to 24 months to complete. The company has also announced it has fulfilled all preconditions for permission to develop surface infrastructure at the site as well as raising CAD $1.97 million in a private placement at the end of November to fund ongoing development work at the site.
The Redmoor tin project is owned by Cornwall Resources Limited, a JV between London-listed Strategic Minerals PLC and Australian based, New Age Exploration Limited. Both JV partners have been raising capital, which includes funding for the development of the Redmoor project, including a 23-hole drilling programme planned at the site next year.
Wolf Minerals have confirmed the extension of planning permission at its Drakelands open pit tungsten and tin mining operation from 2021 to 2036 as well as approval for the permanent 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, operation of the mine’s processing plant, which could lift tin and tungsten production by 20% and reduce unit costs. The developments have also enabled a debt restructuring agreed with lenders to be carried out.
ITRI View: The short-term impact of UK developments on global tin supply is negligible, with the few hundred tonnes of tin production from the Drakelands mine primarily a by-product of tungsten mining at the site. However, the positive announcements made by all three of these UK tin enterprises bodes well for the long-term tin supply potential of the region and reflects a wider global trend of renewed tin project investment and ramp-up of development activity following the 2016 recovery in tin prices. We suspect the weakening of the British pound as a result of the Brexit referendum result may also have provided some cost benefit to these UK tin projects.