As Tungsten West pushes ahead with construction activity and preparations to restart operations at the Hemerdon Mine on the outskirts of Plymouth, local businesses are beginning to reap the rewards of having a world-class asset on their doorstep.
One of the companies benefiting from activities at the mine is JD Plant Services, a local, family-run company based at Lee Mill Industrial Estate. The company has been supplying Tungsten West with forklift trucks, power pallet trucks and maintenance services for approximately three years.
Nick Smyth, Managing Director for JD Plant Services, explains: “We’ve been working with Tungsten West for some time now. Our relationship began somewhere around 2019 when the restart was is its very early stages so we are probably one of the first companies to benefit from the mine.
“When I first visited the mine it was a real eye-opener – it is vast and incredibly impressive. Having this kind of asset right here in Devon is a big deal. It has the potential to provide the materials the world needs, as well as benefiting the local economy.”
JD Plant Services has been operating since 1991 and supports a workforce of six people, including three engineers, through its maintenance services, as well as supplying new forklift trucks and other warehouse equipment.
Russ Winsor, Supply Chain Manager for Tungsten West, said: “It’s been great working with JD Plant – they are a fantastic, small, local business with a big impact. They are professional, competitively priced, responsive and provide us with quality, reliable vehicles and maintenance services. It’s a brilliant relationship with a cracking local company.”
Tungsten West is determined to share its good fortunes with local businesses and local people. Wherever possible the Company is looking to use suppliers and contractors in the areas surrounding the mine.
To date, Tungsten West has spent over £2.3 million with businesses in Devon and has invested 87% of its total project spend with businesses based in the UK. The Company is also keen to recruit local people where the skills and experience are available within the local talent pool.
Managing Director for Tungsten West, James McFarlane, explains: “We feel it’s really important to make sure that having an operational mine in Devon benefits as many local businesses and people as possible. It’s part of our aim to give back to our surrounding communities.
“So not only will we be providing an ethical and sustainable source of tungsten and tin for the UK, we will also be supporting the local economy and job market in Plymouth and Devon.”
Tungsten West estimates that it will need between 200 and 250 direct employees once the mine is up and running, and the Office of National Statistics estimates that for every one mining job created, there are another six jobs supported throughout the supply chain, meaning the mine will support up to a further 1,500 indirect jobs.
Nick from JD Plant continued: “My experience of working with the Tungsten West is a good one. Having the mine is great for local jobs and the local economy, and ultimately that’s better for local people.”
At present Tungsten West employs just over 70 people 29% from the two postcode areas closest to the mine, 53% from other PL postcodes, 8% from EX postcodes, 3% from TQ postcodes and 7% from further afield.
James summed up by saying: “Given current global economics, it is more important than ever to reduce the UK’s reliance on imports from other countries. If we can become more self-sufficient as a nation, we de-risk our vital sustainability and innovation agendas, which rely heavily on materials such as tungsten and tin.
“Naturally, what we’d like to see is whole-hearted support for what we are trying to do at the Hemerdon Mine but we know, in order for that to happen, we need to continue to engage, positively, with local communities and build trust.
“Each local business we work with and each local person we employ helps to prove that we are a business of real benefit to the surrounding communities, as well as the supply of critical minerals for the UK.”
For more information about JD Plant Services visit their website.
1 December 2022