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24 September 2014

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You are in: Devon > History > History features > Hemerdon Mine history

Hemerdon Mine

Hemerdon Mine

Hemerdon Mine history

There are plans to re-open an old mine in Devon - 140 years after tin and tungsten was first discovered there.

Tin and tungsten mining is set to resume at Hemerdon Mine near Plympton - more than 60 years after it was last mined.

The mine hasn't been used since 1944, but has large deposits of Wolframite - in which tungsten is contained.

Tungsten and tin were first discovered there in 1867. Further exploration in 1916 found more deposits within the granite.

The area was mined in 1919 and 1920, and again between 1934 and 1944, when it stopped.

The open mine hasn't been worked since then, despite a planning application by British Tungsten Ltd in 1969 which was later withdrawn.

Planning permission for mining has been in place since 1985 and is valid for 35 years. The site is listed as an important mineral reserve in Devon County Council's Minerals Local Plan.

The mine is thought to be one of the largest deposits of tin and tungsten in the western world. It is believed to hold 40 million tonnes of tungsten and tin ore.

Geologists at Hemerdon Mine

Geologists at Hemerdon Mine

Wolf Minerals (UK) Ltd - owned by Australian based Wolf Minerals Limited - intend to mine around 3,000 tonnes of tungsten a year at Hemerdon, over the next 15-19 years.

It will be the only tungsten and tin mine in the country, and Wolf Minerals say it could meet the UK's entire needs for many years. (South Crofty tin mine in Cornwall is also set for re-opening in late 2009).

The development of Hemerdon mine will result in the formation of an open pit about 850m long by 540m wide and 200m deep.

Revised planning permission is needed, and if granted the mine could be fully operational again within three years - around late 2010.

Local councillors say the re-opening of the mine will affect villagers in Hemerdon - especially those who live at the top of the village.

China is the biggest known source of tungsten, with the majority of the world's deposits.

Tungsten was first mined in Saxony in the 17th century. Then, in the 18th century, a Swedish mineralogist found deposits and gave it the name, tung-sten, which means heavy stone.

Tungsten has a number of uses - it's used as a metal in alloys, it hardens steel, and is used in items such as light bulbs, jewellery, and watches. The mineral currently has a high trading price in the markets.

Read more about the planned re-opening of Hemerdon Mine by clicking onto the BBC News Online story which is linked from this page.

last updated: 18/02/2008 at 16:14
created: 04/12/2007

Have Your Say

What do you think about Hemerdon Mine re-opening? Is it good news or bad news? Have your say here.

The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.

i live very close to hemerdon mine and go down the woods frequently. me and my mate have found another mine basicly next door we are wondering if you know anything about this

sounds like a loud of power wasting junk to me bbc dudes

If the mine is opening, can i get a job there?

Hinton J. Sheryn
Very good news for the area, and for mining in the U.K., generally..machine sales,plant-hire, haulage contractors would all benefit.

Steve Jones - Shropshire
I think it is good news in helping the local economy with jobs, suppliers and expenditure it will also raise valuable export revenues. Given the history and diversity of mining in the area it should present few planning issues but it is imperative that once mine workings have ceased that the landscape is returned to its former beauty. This has not happened at the old mine site which I visited recently. Given this newfound interest it is also vitally important to document the old mine before it is bulldosed into landfil and oblivion. Is there such a thing as a 'Friends of Hemerdon' society ?

Aunt bessie

Tim Pickering, Canada
Thismust be good news...bringing much needed jobs to Devon.

Well Wisher
Its great news for the local community and will bring prosperity to other business in the area. The people who will sadly loose their houses, would have been more than aware that it was a possibility when they bought their property through the searches done by their solicitor. This re-opening has been on the cards for 40 years. I do not mention this to diminish their loss, but to make clear that it was a consideration before buying in the area. Great news for the people of Devon and the UK

Henderson Mines Research Ltd
We all use and need minerals to succeed and survive in the moden world. In fact, our current level of advancement is based on our clever usage and re-usage of those minerals.The UK tungsten demand at present relies totally on imports. Hemerdon Mine has a proven and viable resource that can not only provide the intire UK requirement, but provide an export trade to other countries.Over the past few years, demand is slowly outstripping supply in both tunsten and tin reserves, driving up the prices of these metals, making the UK mineral resource a viable option.I feel this is a great idea, and wish them every success.

Clive Andrews
Great news,

Tony Brewis
You can only mine minerals where Nature has placed them. With modern methods and technology, this will cause fewer problems locally than people fear and it will create welcome employment. It will help release for the benefit of the local area and the UK as a whole the inherent value currently locked in the ground. Not all profit will go to Australia - local shops will benefit from the pay packets of workers.

James Brown
The price of progress: Crownhill down a natural part of Dartmoor destroyed forever, vibration, noise and dust polution that effects Hemerdon, Sparkwell and the Chaddlewood end of Plympton with the consequential fall in house price, as well as over a dozen families losing their homes all together. The money, that goes to Aus and the couple of land owners who can afford to live any where, whilst the above takes place.

Peter Cousins
Anyone who is opposed to this proposal obviously has never been unemployed or had to suffer the frustration of applying for jobs only to get nowhere (I`ve had interviews cancelled without being notified after I`d left to attend)Good luck to them & to the future of young lads and ladies who now face a better future than relying on seasonal work.

Mr Mrs L J & C Gould
What Water Pollution Safegurds are going to be in place to stop water run off into the sea,or rivers Because Diving is popular around Plymouth Devon

I welcome the production of metal returning to the UK. It is time that people appreciated the fact that raw materials have to be produced somewhere. It's all very well importing metals, but in the long run, it's better environmentally if we produce and consume locally, and not ship metals halfway across the world to the UK. I don't live in Hemerdon, but I'd happily move there alongside the mine and work there.

Excellent news but let's hope lorries will be kept to an absolute minimum and rail is used as the preferred method of haulage.The site is near the Great Western main line and also sidings at Tavistock Junction, Marshmills.

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