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Company defends controversial tin mining scheme off Cornish coast

By WBBev  |  Posted: February 08, 2013

Comments (6)

A COMPANY hoping to mine for tin along the Cornish coast is dismissing claims that it will have an adverse impact on the environment or threaten popular surfing spots and marine habitats.

Marine Minerals Ltd has submitted exploratory drilling plans stretching from St Ives to Perranporth to extract tin from the seabed.The first  public consultations, in conjunction with Marine Management Organisation (MMO), on the £15 million scheme ended today.

It was responding to concerns raised by Surfers Against Sewage (SAS)  and Cornwall Wildlife Trust (CCT) who feared the drilling would disrupt premier surfing spots and threaten marine habitats and wildlife. CCT said the drilling posed certain risks, including loss of habitat and species, disturbance of contaminated sediments, and noise.It also called for reassurances that the cumulative impact of its application for a 21 year license are considered.

In a statement Marine Minserals Ltd stated: "Our method will not, unlike traditional dredging extend over vast areas of the seabed in a short time because we will be simultaneously back filling as we draw up the sand, while filtering out the tin onboard. We will return almost all of the sand back to where it came from. Compared to the effect of storm waves on this coast, our impact will be insignificant."

Its operation, it added, would be no closer than 200m to the shore and that there was no evidence to show that it would prove detrimental to the marine environment, wildlife or surfing. It said: "If there are specific problems, in specific locations, or at specific times, we will investigate ways to avoid, minimise or mitigate them.  Such plans will be made public and will be open to scrutiny and consultation in our licence application, which we now expect to make early next year."

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6 comments

  • BlueSkyGrif  |  February 21 2013, 1:53PM

    MML have no proof of their sketchy claims. They will be spending more on their PR machine than in any real valuable way to convince people that this is a good idea, when logic show's that it's a really bad idea. here's to their failure and saving Cornwall's future.

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  • shagrats  |  February 11 2013, 8:32AM

    Now before the SAS "throw the baby out with the bathwater". This could in fact be a goldmine for the surfing comunity. With a bit of clever organisation, the dredging and movement of the sand could be used to create artificial reefs. This is something that has been proposed before but couldn't be organised properly. Just think of the wave you could build and the benefit it could be to the south west surfing community. This should be explored before you shut down any industrial plans for tin extraction off the coast.

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  • poldice  |  February 10 2013, 10:58AM

    Agree Phil_lip that it is easy (at a cost) to build a controlling environment on lans ans it will be neccessary to do so when world commodity prices dictate the viability. But having witnessed the recent storms where every single swell will move tens of thousands of substrate around to a depth of several feet in some places given the way sand levels rise and fall at Porthtowan this ove time will probably have concentrated heavy tin bearing sand in defined pockets which presumably will be what interests the dredgers. Back in the late sixties a Stevenson trawler was chartered and spent several months taking core samples in both Ligger and Bassets Bay, there has been other sporadic work done in the interim, at the same time the Baymead was dredging in St Ives Bay off the mouth of the Red River, the sand being processed at Lelant to no siscernable ill effect. Remember that tin in itself is not particularly toxic unlike arsenic lead or cadmium which are not involved in this scenario, I am a North Coast born and reared Cornish man who loves the place and would fight like a Tiger to prevent harm to it, however producing tin is what we have always done so lets get cracking and do it again, as Harry Safari said in the song that Radio Emmet will not play, "Lets hear it for the miners- who we hope will mine again".

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  • Phil_lip  |  February 10 2013, 1:53AM

    Entitled to your opinion poldice but you can build a controlling environment to stop any leaching into the watercourses on land far easier than disturbing settled sediment on the sea bed. I completely agree on the issues surrounding other pollutants we have a habit of not getting treated before release but then that would be a water company issue not a mining one.

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  • poldice  |  February 09 2013, 5:03PM

    Complete utter tosh, this is alluvial tin washed into the sea when the mines were working, its recovery will cause minimum seabed disturbance whereas moving old spoil heaps around will cause arsenic ets to leach into the soil or watercourses. Ironically when Cornwalls mines were working everything went into the sea with little effect the Red River was literally red and the mackerel used to hang around the edge of the plume to hide from predators, much the same at Geevor, now the plumes are gone and the mackerel have disappeared. The real problems are detergents, bleaches, pesticide residues and fertiliser runoff which unlike a mineral plume are man made persistent chemicals which do harm sealife.

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  • Phil_lip  |  February 09 2013, 2:34PM

    Disgusting, the heaps around all the mines in Cornwall would be better to get minerals from than the sea bed as well as being able to control any pollution from it. To try and claim it will have no effect is pathetic because even a child would know it will.

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