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Cornwall mining company strikes silver

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Richard Williams, chief executive of Cornish Metals (formerly known as Strongbow Exploration) - Simon Dawson/Bloomberg News
Richard Williams, chief executive of Cornish Metals (formerly known as Strongbow Exploration) - Simon Dawson/Bloomberg News

The mining company aiming to revive copper and tin production in Cornwall has also struck silver.

Cornish Metals said it found the precious metal for the first time during testing of its United Downs prospect, near Redruth, along with high grades of tin and copper.

Richard Williams, chief executive of the Canadian-based company, said the discovery added to the area's potential.

"We are pleased with the initial results and observations from our drilling at United Downs, and pleasantly surprised with the silver content recorded," he said.

"The high-grade nature of the tin and copper mineralisation is similar to what was mined here between 1700 and 1870."

Aim-listed Cornish Metals is among several prospectors now re-examining Cornwall in light of growing demand for copper, tin and lithium for renewable energy and electric car applications.

Cornish Lithium wants to produce lithium from geothermal waters and granite, while rival British Lithium is also looking to produce lithium from granite.

Meanwhile, Geothermal Engineering plans to develop four geothermal heat and power plants in the county, and said its testing plant in United Downs would be able to deliver electricity to the national grid next year.

As well as its United Downs prospect, Cornish Metals also wants to revive the South Crofty tin mine about 8km to the west, which closed in 1998 after 400 years.

Mining in Cornwall stretches back thousands of years but suffered when tin prices collapsed in the 1980s, causing big companies to look elsewhere.

Mr Williams said further testing was needed at United Downs to understand the extent of the deposits of silver and other metals.

"The United Downs project has numerous additional targets that we will be testing throughout the course of this year," he added.

Cornish Metals shares have almost doubled since it rejoined Aim in February, climbing 1.4pc to 14.46p in afternoon trading.

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