To mark World Environment Day, which took place on Sunday 5 June, Tungsten West is sharing how it is supporting the next generation of environmental professionals through its work placements and study opportunities.
The company, which is responsible for bringing the Hemerdon Mine on the outskirts of Plymouth back into operation, has pledged to be a socially and environmentally responsible tungsten and tin mine, and as part of that commitment is supporting an eight-week environmental student placement, as one of its educational support initiatives.
Alex Manning is studying an MSc in Environmental Consultancy at the University of Plymouth and is in his final year. Part of his course requires that he gain valuable work experience. He explains: “I wanted to work for an organisation that has a challenging environmental agenda. Tungsten West is the perfect placement for me because it’s a company trying to balance its impact on the environment by carefully managing multiple environmental aspects and offsetting wherever possible.
“After speaking to Tungsten West, it was clear that they are really keen on exploring more sustainable ways of working, whether that’s low-carbon energy sources or more efficient processing. They are also investing in the areas surrounding the mine with tree planting, landscaping and maintenance to protect or enhance the natural environment where possible.
“I don’t think it’s widely known that the green agenda relies on mining critical minerals – without metals such as tungsten and tin, the world can’t create the low-carbon technology we need to fulfil out net-zero goals. That’s why it’s incredibly important that we find the most environmentally friendly ways to mine the critical minerals we need for a greener future. That challenge is what makes my placement here so worthwhile.”
As part of his work, Alex is carrying out an audit of the habitats surrounding the Hemerdon mine. He is assessing the success of tree planting, carrying out sampling and monitoring of water sources and supporting the organisation with work involved in its environmental accreditation (ISO:14001).
Ultimately, Alex’s work will contribute to the environmental management of the mine, with a tree planting and landscaping plan currently being drawn up.
Alex is working in the ESG Team at Tungsten West, which stands for Environment, Social and Governance. It is an area of the business dedicated to ensuring the company works in the most responsible ways possible and encompasses compliance including Health and Safety, community relations as well as the environmental agenda.
Alex Dawson, ESG Manager for Tungsten West, explains: “We want to be a socially and environmentally responsible mining operation and that means doing what we can to offset our environmental impact now, but also supporting the environmental agenda in less obvious ways.
“One of the things we are keen to do to fulfil our social and environmental responsibilities is to help support the education of the next generation of ESG professionals. We’ve got a really unique and fantastic asset here in Devon, and by working with up-and-coming environmental professionals, we’ve got the opportunity to make a real difference to the mining industry, and ultimately the green agenda.”
Earlier this month, Tungsten West took part in an educational film by producers Time for Geography, an organisation that aims to inspire young people in secondary education to consider careers in geology and earth sciences.
Tungsten is considered to be a conflict mineral and it appears on the critical minerals list for countries around the world. It is needed for the manufacture of progressive technologies such as electric cars, solar panels and wind turbines.
Tungsten West is currently working on plans that will see the restart of mining operations in 2023.
Monday 6 June 2022