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Andrew George's plea for Marine Minerals to consult Cornwall fisherman

By CMJohannaCarr  |  Posted: February 20, 2013

MV Flat Holm will be undertaking marine survey work for Marine Minerals off the North Cornish coast

Comments (8)

A local MP has called for the company planning to mine tin off the north Cornish coast to make sure it consults with everybody who might be affected by the plans.
St Ives MP Andrew George has contacted the local Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority to ask if the plans from Marine Minerals could have an adverse effect on commercial fishermen operating in the area.
The head of the authority Eddy Derriman responded by letter confirming that this could be the case if the proposals to reclaims deposits of the metal between St Ives and St Agnes go ahead.
He wrote: "At this very early scoping stage of the project, the fishermen are unlikely to be adversely affected.
"However if the project comes to fruition and the mining activity starts, then inevitably they will be affected on a practical front and will be required to shift their gear and potentially may be affected if there is any localised impact on fish/shellfish stocks."
Mr Derriman also noted that the licensing authority, the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) and Marine Minerals  had undertaken "little, if any, directed consultation...with the people most likely to be affected, the fishermen". 
Mr George said, "I don't think anyone would want to stand in the way of a commercial enterprise that has the potential to generate many jobs and contribute to the local economy, but I also know that the company itself would want all of those who may be affected to be both consulted and considered in its future plans."
 He said he would contact the MMO to ask that it makes sure that local interests are properly consulted and taken into consideration in any future plans.
He said: "Marine conservation bodies and inshore fishermen who place fixed gear in the area have a right to have their concerns taken fully into account."
The company is in the process of carrying out marine survey work which involves filming the seabed and collecting sand samples to examine the flora, fauna and marine life in the sand.
Yesterday Marine Minerals was out on its survey boat the MV Flat Holm.
Commercial director John Sewell said St Agnes fisherman Captain Simon Thomas had been on board to see what the company was doing.
Mr Sewell said: "It is too early for anyone to make a judgement on the project because we have not even got a method of how we are going to do the work at this stage."

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  • crgee  |  March 02 2013, 3:54PM

    by 28daysearlier "Yes we need jobs but not at the expense of the environment ... Nearly all forms of mining are environmently damaging as is farming (chemicals), tourism (pollution), etc. etc. and of course 'population expansion'.. Mankinds progress throughout time has always been at the expense of the environment.

  • 28daysearlier  |  February 21 2013, 12:36PM

    Yes we need jobs but not at the expense of the environment. Any economic exploitation has to be balanced against the long term economic and environmental costs. Dredging is damaging...the dredging in Hayle harbour proved that and experiences of large scale sand sediment extraction has had devastating effects in other places in this country so there are examples that make people rightfully nervous. And what about those who already make their money from jobs in and around the areas designated? What of their livelihoods...not just tourism but the local fishing industry and those businesses that are supported by those to industries. On the jobs that could be created...there is talk of 100 possible...but all the experience for this type of mining is currently in the Far East and South America so how many jobs will there be for local people realistically? I would expect imported expertise and labour which would limit the economic benefit for the local area...which has to live with the environmental consequences. All that said, they are not proposing is not traditional extraction so we could be the place that develops technology and skills that could be exported all over the world. The flip side is the concept is unproven and might not be as environmentally neutral as they suggest...

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  • shagrats  |  February 21 2013, 8:32AM

    Now just so people know, this process does not come without risks to the enviroment, and they need to be looked at fully. Here are some scientific reviews of what happens when you disturb mineral rich sediments while looking for tin. Summary. Reef flats in the vicinity of tin dredging and around the Laem Pan Wah Peninsula,****et, and been quantitatively surveyed. . Heavy metal concentrations in invertebrate species such as the oyster Saccostrea, the bivalve Isognomon, and in the alga Padina reflected elevated metal levels at all sites when compared with controls (Figs. 8 and 9). So thats positive enviromental contamination of heavy metals caused by disturbing the sediments. Past and on-going reclamation, dredging, construction and shipping activities impact Ponggol Estuary, located on the northeastern coast of Singapore. Tin, lead, nickel, cadmium, and copper in particulate and dissolved fractions and sediments ranged from ND (undetectable)-92 ppm, ND-303.2 ppm, ND-2818.4 ppm, ND-74.4 ppm and ND-1117.7 ppm, respectively. Intensive dredging activity during the monitoring period may have led to the resuspension and bioavailability of particulate metals. The results showed significant copper toxicity to phytoplankton and autotrophic bacteria, followed by nickel and lead at all concentrations tested. Enhanced rates of heterotrophic bacterial production and total bacterial abundance were observed in treatments with higher metal concentrations. High concentrations of copper (5.52-11.35 mg L(-1)) and nickel (2.42-2.71 mg L(-1)) observed in the aqueous phase of treatment mesocosms, and attributed to release from the contaminated sediments could account for the toxicity to phytoplankton and autotrophic bacteria. Again positive contamination from the re-working of mineral rich sedimnts. These are not from happy clappy hippy enviromental protest groups but from scientific papers on studies done specificialy on Tin extraction in offshore sediments. I would like to see the work that was done on the previous campaign offshore from Cornwall as that would be more relevant to the enviroment that we are dealing with.

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  • josdave  |  February 20 2013, 7:00PM

    As has already been said what we really need down here is real industry, not more low paid part time seasonal tourism jobs, paying real wages all year round so that the young of the county may have a chance of maybe owning their own homes. As long as we continue to put all our eggs in the tourism basket things will not get better only worse.

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  • manicstreet  |  February 20 2013, 2:06PM

    we need real jobs

  • poldice  |  February 20 2013, 12:57PM

    Surfers like to cultivate an image of wholesomness as earnest communicants with nature leading a bronzed and healthy lifestyle which is very good PR which certainly got SAS into the mainstream where intially they did sterling work by really kicking SWW into touch. However like many other environmentaly skewed organisations they have ended up hijacked by empire building politically correct lefty leaning lentil weavers with surfing degrees who ride bandwagons rather than surfboards for a living. The fact of the matter is currently there are just too many surfers who infest any beach subject to the merest ripple of a wave to the detriment of those who perhaps wish to just fish for Bass or take a simple dip without being intimidated by endless flotillas of thoughtless noprene clad louts on surfboards who hog the water. There was quite extensive tin dredging off Gwithian in the 1970's to no discenible ill effect so there is a precedent on which to judge the merits of this scheme against, any real work of a productive nature that has minimal impact should be welcomed and encouraged not thwarted at every turn." The sand versus silt point mooted by shagrats is generally a red herring in the universally high energy environment involved in this issue, the heavier tin will presumably be in clearly defined bands dictated by wave action over time, realistically anywhere in less than 30 metres of water (the entire area in quesion) silt would be the first substrate to be put into suspension by wave action hence the often turbid appearance of the sea after heavy storms that generate big ground swells. It is ironic that Andrew George has raised his head given the very marginal potential effect on his constituency as most of the proposed operational area will be adjacent to George Eustice and Sarah Newtons patches, perhaps through his opportunistic involvement he hopes to cultivate the obviously significant surfer vote. Cornwall IFCA another bureaurocracy in the making is now controlled and influenced largely by those with lentil weaving tendencies, they will love this little lot while huffing and puffing about workloads to enhance a case for further expansion in the face of potential cuts.

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  • shagrats  |  February 20 2013, 11:34AM

    They must be honest about what they plan to do. They have said they would be dredging sand and removing the Tin. Now I would have thought that it would actually be silt they would be dredging which is a totaly different grade of sediment as its mixed with clay minerals that could trap contaminents, that in turn could be released into the local enviroment, sand you find on the beach a very high energy enviroment, silt is found in deeper waters away from the power of the breakers.

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  • cornishminer  |  February 20 2013, 10:58AM

    best of luck to them ,we need real jobs down here not just the cream tea industry

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