Cornish tin mining moves closer to revival as developer plans float

Tin mining is set for a comeback in Cornwall, as a Canadian company that plans to reopen the South Crofty mine in 2021 announced it would float on the London stock market next month to help fund the venture.

Vancouver-based Strongbow Exploration acquired the rights to the tin mine in the Cornish town of Pool in July 2016. After operating for more than 400 years, South Crofty was the last tin mine to close in the UK 20 years ago, due to a lack of investment and falling metal prices.

But since then demand for tin has increased while global supply is falling, driving a 60% surge in tin prices since January 2016 to $21,000 (£15,457) a tonne. Tin is used as solder in consumer electronics and other electronic devices, electric cars and solar cells.

Richard Williams, the Strongbow chief executive, said: “The company continues to advance South Crofty to a production decision, with a plan to recommence production in 2021. The project has all necessary permits in place and, as a former producing mine, offers great potential at a relatively low risk.

“The global demand for tin, especially in consumer electronics, combined with current tin price forecasts, underpins Strongbow’s strategy.”

He estimated that the mine would employ 275 people, in an area where jobs are scarce.

While global demand for tin is expected to remain stable, supply is set to decline over the next five years as production from the world’s main producers – China, Malaysia, Indonesia and Peru – continues to fall.

Strongbow is already listed in Canada and is backed by Canadian precious metals firm Osisko Gold Royalties, its biggest shareholder with a 30.6% stake. The firm will float on London’s junior Aim market in June because it needs to raise £25m over the next 18 months to fund its plans for South Crofty.

The company owns a mining licence valid until 2071, has planning permission to build a new process facility and has received a loan from Osisko to construct a water treatment plant.

A previous attempt to revive the mine by Baseresult Holdings, which acquired the site in 2001, failed and South Crofty was placed into administration in 2013.