Exploratory drilling of a group of the 'richest in tin of all the Cornish mines' is expected to be carried out this year in the hope the site can be mined once again creating 200 jobs.

Cornish Tin Limited, a Cornwall based tin exploration company, is currently advancing The Great Wheal Vor Project near Breage, not far from Helston.

The Truro based company says it is planning an initial exploration drilling programme this year in the Carleen area.

Company CEO Sally Norcross-Webb and mining consultant Jeff Harrison are responsible for planning and communication with local residents and stakeholders.

The project comprises a group of 26 former producing tin mines last operated in the 1800s, described in 1929 by the mining commentator Hamilton Jenkin as, "probably the richest tin mine which has ever been worked in the world”.

It is claimed to be very high grade tin (historic production grades of over 5.5 per cent tin). Even assuming a current production grade of only 2 per cent tin, the company says this would be one of the top three tin mines by grade in the world today.

Currently, Cornish Tin and its team of geologists are engaged in research, and it will be many years before a production decision can be made. At that stage, it will need to apply for full planning permission and all interested parties will have ample opportunity of making representations.

Sally Norcross-Webb said: “If the project proceeds to the development and production phase, this will be a new approach to tin extraction and processing. Cornish Tin is committed to 'green' mining – the use of best available technologies to achieve minimal environmental impact, on a maximum sustainability basis; minimal surface construction at site, primary processing underground, and use of sustainable energy”.

She says the company would produce clean tin from Cornwall – a domestic supply for UK industry of a critical mineral, compliant with UK law, environmental regulations, and health and safety best practice.

Local residents have raised concerns that the opening of a mine would bring air, noise and light pollution; increased heavy traffic, underground stability, water table issues, damage to wildlife and many other impacts that would be inevitable.


Bur Mrs Norcross-Webb says Cornish Tin fully respects the natural environment and the privacy of local residents. She says the company has already commissioned surveys to protect the local ecology and wildlife, and to make sure any drilling noise is kept within strict limits. Drilling will be carried out in compliance with a General Permitted Development Order made by Cornwall Council.

She said Cornish Tin has contacted many local residents, parish councils, and other stakeholders, to keep them informed of the plans.

Jeff Harrison said: “We are pleased with the level of support so far from local residents, but we understand that there are naturally questions that will arise.

"In other circumstances we would have held a public meeting to answer questions, but the Covid restrictions quite rightly make this impossible for the time being. Instead, I am delighted that there will be a zoom meeting shortly, kindly hosted by Breage Parish Council, and we look forward to meeting residents on the zoom call.

"Both Sally and myself will be on the zoom call and look forward to providing the facts which people may wish to know. Anyone with further questions is most welcome to contact me or Sally at any time.”

The company says the project will reinvigorate the local economy and would bring around 200 much needed local jobs and local career opportunities to Cornwall

Mrs Norcross-Webb added: “We believe there is extensive mineralisation remaining in the ground. Mining stopped in the 1870s not through lack of tin but due to a 20 year Chancery lawsuit [it reputedly inspired Dickens: Bleak House litigation].

"The owners at the time, in their haste to grab only the most valuable ore, left in the ground ore which is still very high grade, and left completely unexplored certain areas which the miners themselves believed were very prospective”.

She went on to say: “Modern technology means that mineral extraction today is unrecognisable to 100 years ago – there have been great strides in making it non-intrusive, environmentally friendly, and powered by sustainable energy”.

However some residents are concerned about the impact of the mine on their properties as, while they own the land, they do not own the mineral rights underneath. They have set up a Facebook group to discuss the implications of the drilling which has acquired 128 members in just one week.

The Packet has contacted the group for further comments about their concerns. 

Landowners where the drilling takes place are being given a £500 goodwill payment that will be made once the exploratory drilling starts and then another £500 once it has been completed.