Cornish Metals (LON, TSX-V: CUSN) has started a fresh drilling program at its South Crofty tin-copper project in Cornwall, southwest England, as it moves closer to reopening the past producing mine.
The Canadian company, formerly known as Strongbow Explorations, said it will drill a minimum of 8,000 metres, collecting samples for metallurgical test work, which is part of an ongoing feasibility study.
“This drill programme allows us to accelerate the South Crofty feasibility study in advance of dewatering the mine and will provide key information for the mineral processing flowsheet,” chief executive officer Richard Williams said in the statement.
The news comes about a year after Cornish Metals announced the project was richer than anticipated. The updated resource estimate showed a 10% increase in indicated resources to 2.08 million tonnes in both the lower mine and upper mine areas.
It also revealed an almost 130% gain in inferred tin resources at the lower mine to 1.94 million tonnes.
The Vancouver-based miner is working on re-opening the South Crofty mine, which was closed in 1998 following more than 400 years of almost continuous production.
Cornish completed the acquisition of the South Crofty and United Downs copper-tin projects in 2016. A year later, it completed a preliminary economic assessment, which demonstrated the economic viability of re-opening the operation.
The company also acquired additional mineral rights in Cornwall, covering an area of about 15,000 hectares that hold past-producing mines which were historically worked for copper, tin, zinc, and tungsten.
There is currently no primary mine production of tin in Europe or North America and the US has included the metal in a list of minerals considered critical to the country’s economic and national security.
South Crofty could generate up to 5,000 tonnes of tin a year, with first production expected in 2026. The company said the mine will create up to 270 direct jobs and support a further 750 in the region, one of the UK’s most underprivileged.