What lies beneath

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Mining is set to return to Cornwall as tin and tungsten prices continue to rise. Plus a rare earth metal called Indium, a key component in smart phones and flat screens, is enticing prospectors back to the mines of the South West.

Tin mining has long been just a relic of Cornwall's past; a landscape dotted with old overgrown chimneys being the only evidence of the wheals once found all across the county.

The last miners left South Crofty mine, near Redruth in the heart of Cornwall in 1998 when the price of tin made mining in the area unviable, but now investors and geologists have turned their attention to some of the other minerals lying underground alongside the tin. Rare earth metals are also hiding below the surface at South Crofty and could help bring prosperity to a much maligned part of the country.

Just across the county border in Devon, mining is set to begin at Hemerdon, just outside Plymouth. Hemerdon is home to the fourth largest Tungsten deposit in the world and the price of tungsten is soaring.

Tom Heap meets the new prospectors hoping to make the area profitable once again.

Presenter: Tom Heap
Producer: Martin Poyntz-Roberts

Available now

30 minutes

Last on

Wed 11 Apr 2012 21:00
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