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Cornish tin mine revived by £25m investment from ex-Tory Party treasurer

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Keith Russ, a technical service engineer of the South Crofty Tin Project, stands in a mining tunnel at South Crofty tin mine in Redruth, - Simon Dawson/ Bloomberg News
Keith Russ, a technical service engineer of the South Crofty Tin Project, stands in a mining tunnel at South Crofty tin mine in Redruth, - Simon Dawson/ Bloomberg News

Mining veteran and former Tory party treasurer Sir Mick Davis is investing £25m to help revive a historic tin mine in Cornwall.

The Vision Blue Resources investment fund he founded and leads as chief executive is taking a 25pc stake in AIM-listed Cornish Metals which plans to re-open the South Crofty tin mine.

The mine was in production for about 400 years but closed in 1998 following a collapse in tin prices.

Vision Blue Resources’s investment is part of a £40m fundraise by Cornish Metals which will pay for work to pump water out and feasibility studies.

Tin prices roughly doubled during 2021, hitting $40,000 per ton in October, with tin in strong demand for products ranging from cars to electrical connections.

Car being made - AFP
Car being made - AFP

Richard Williams, chief executive of Cornish Metals, said: “[This investment] really reaffirms that we have a strategic asset in the UK, in Cornwall. Tin is essential to anything electronic. It’s a fantastic endorsement for the company and the project by Sir Mick.”

Vision Blue Resources was founded by Sir Mick in December 2020 to invest in minerals and metals linked to the shift towards greener energy. The company has so far invested in three ventures: graphite firm Next-Source Materials, vanadium developer Ferro-Alloy Resources Group and quartz developer Sinova Global.

Tin’s use in electronic connections means it is key to the shift away from fossil fuels and the rise of electric cars and “green” heat pumps.

Cornish Metals estimates there is about 65,000tons in the mine, although more studies will be done on how much is likely to be extractable.

The mine has the necessary permits and could be up and running by 2026, creating about 250 direct jobs.

Investors taking part in this £40m fundraise have warrants giving them the right to buy further shares within three years, potentially raising another £60m to fund the project. Williams said that would cover the equity part of the project financing, but it may also look at further debt financing.

The South Crofty project is part of an emerging revival of mining in Cornwall.

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