We have today announced we are withdrawing our planning application to increase HGV movements from the mine following a public engagement process which included evaluating further evidence and information.
We submitted the application in June this year with the aim of developing a secondary aggregates business that would complement the main tungsten and tin operations at the mine by selling a waste by-product.
It aimed to increase the number of HGV exports from site from 50 per day to a maximum of 200 per day. We had already reduced the number of trucks requested through the planning application from 300 to 200 per day following feedback from locals during a consultation event in March 2022, where almost 400 people gave their views.
Mark Thompson, Executive Vice Chair for Tungsten West, said: “The primary rationale for removing the aggregates off site is for the more efficient removal of waste and we still believe that selling our secondary aggregates is the right thing to do, not only because it makes good business sense to minimise waste and maximise income streams, but it also benefits the environment, as secondary aggregates produce approximately 25% of the carbon footprint of primary aggregates.
“However, we are not prepared to develop a secondary aggregates business at the expense of the relationships we are trying to build with the local and wider community. As a company, we understand the importance of transparent two way communication with all of our stakeholders and will endeavour to take into account all feedback during our decision making processes, as is evident with this decision.”
Over 400 responses to the application were received by Devon County Council since it went live on the planning portal in July.
Mr Thompson continued: “It’s taken time, but we’ve had a careful look at all the data available to us and considered views from statutory consultees and all our closest neighbours, as well as comments from the general public. As a result, we’ve decided to focus all our efforts on restarting tungsten and tin mining at Hemerdon, so that we can provide critical metals the world needs, whilst creating jobs, supporting the local community and driving investment in the surrounding areas of Plymouth and Devon.”
To date Tungsten West has invested over £2.3 million in Devon through development of the Hemerdon Mine, with almost £1 million of that spend going to companies in Plymouth and 87% of its total project spend to date benefiting UK companies.
Mr Thompson continued: “In the short-term, we will halt the sale of secondary aggregates. Once we are in production, we will look to work within the HGV movement limits of 50 per day specified in our existing planning permission as our starting position.
“We’d like to thank everyone who took the time to share their views with us and Devon County Council through the planning process. We hope we will have the support of the local communities in our efforts to restart the Hemerdon Mine during 2023.”
We are set to employ between 200-250 people at the Hemerdon Mine once in full production and support an estimated further 1,200-1,500 additional jobs through the supply chain. The majority of our current workforce is made up of people living locally - 26% from the two postcode areas closest to the mine and 55% from other PL postcodes.
Mr Thompson, concludes by saying: “At Tungsten West we strive to be a collaborative and listening organisation, and we want to be a good neighbour, working with people in the surrounding communities to make sure we do all we can to minimise the impact of the project on their daily lives. We want to become an integral part of the community and we know it will take time to build trust – we are absolutely prepared to put in the effort.”
The Hemerdon Mine has the third largest tungsten resource in the world, a critical material needed for progressive technologies, including automotives, electronics, medical equipment, manufacturing and defence.
18 November 2022