Pupils from Sparkwell Primary School were given the unique opportunity to visit Tungsten West Hemerdon Mine as part of the Building Plymouth Open Sites week.
A group of 30 Year 6 students from neighbouring Sparkwell Primary School were invited to visit Hemerdon, the second largest tungsten deposit in the world, and discover more about the varied careers available in the mining sector, and the many processes involved in sustainably extracting the critical mineral tungsten.
The visit was organised as part of Building Plymouth Open Sites Week, a city-wide initiative that aligns with National Careers Week. As part of the scheme, numerous major ‘live’ sites across the city provided students with fascinating insights into potential careers in construction and engineering.
Emma Hewitt, Skills Lead at Plymouth City Council said; “What a brilliant, fun packed day for the children to explore the mine and learn more about the breadth of careers and job opportunities available. I learnt so much about the mining operation and value of tungsten, so interesting - and the opportunities being created for local employment and skills is massive. We thank Tungsten West for joining our Building Plymouth Open Sites Week showcasing to young people the career opportunities across the construction and built environment sector.”
The pupils were accompanied to the bottom of the open pit mine, 60 metres below ground level, where Tungsten West geologists brought to life the history of the mine and guided the children in identifying the different rocks and minerals whilst learning about their many uses.
Led by the Tungsten West laboratory team, the students were also able to replicate the laboratory process on a much smaller scale by sieving samples of rock and using magnets to extract the metals.
A Sparkwell Primary School student wrote to Tungsten West to thank them for the visit, stating; “What I love about Tungsten West is that there are so many different kinds of jobs so that people that are dreaming of being a geologist will have a variety of options of things to do if they choose to work there. I think everyone who works at Tungsten West has done an amazing job at making sure that our school trip was perfectly safe and fun at the same time. I will never forget this trip.”
Marica Lyndon, Executive Assistant for Tungsten West says; “It was an absolute pleasure to host the students of Sparkwell Primary School and help to develop their understanding of the mine, its significance for the local community and wider region, and the importance of tungsten.”
James McFarlane, Managing Director of Tungsten West added; “Given the significance of tungsten and tin to modern technological advancements, it’s important to be able to showcase responsible sourcing of two of these critical metals to our local school, and hopefully inspire pupils to take up careers in STEM subjects that will contribute to a sustainable domestic supply in the future.”