A computerised electric hydraulic drill, which arrived at South Crofty tin mine, will begin work immediately and is expected to have drilled 7 kilometres of boreholes below Tuckingmill and Camborne in a six month programme.

Holes of over 500 metres long can be drilled into the rock using hollow drill bits tipped with industrial diamonds, creating cores of rock that are recovered and analysed for their mineral content.

The drill stands 10 feet tall and has a carousel that loads the drill rods automatically.

A pattern of holes will be drilled with the specific purpose of intersecting several mineralised structures in the rock which will provide information regarding their potential. Managing Director of Mine Operations for Western United Mines, Kevin Williams, said they were expecting to find several lodes of tin and other minerals including copper, zinc and possibly tungsten.

Kevin said: "We are all very excited about this new piece of equipment, which is yet another step forward to bringing South Crofty back into full production.

"We ordered the drill last August from the Swedish firm, Atlas Copco, which specialises in producing mining equipment. Each piece is made to order so we knew it would take time to arrive. Our mining programme continues and has reached a stage where we are ready to commence the diamond drilling programme. The initial exploration phase should be completed by this summer when it will give way to a further more intensive programme of drilling."

A representative of Atlas Copco has arrived from Sweden to spend a week training three of the South Crofty miners to use the new machine, including one who will then be able to train new miners as they are employed.

After a period of familiarisation, the mining team will be using the new drill around the clock to stay on schedule. A special carriage is also being created to manoeuvre the new equipment around the mine. Until that has been completed it will be moved by using the scooptrams.