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12 June 2014 | Will Green
A tungsten mine predicted to be capable of producing around 3.5 per cent of global demand is due to begin commercial production next year in Devon.
The Hemerdon mine, owned by Australian-based Wolf Minerals, is expected to produce around 3,500 tonnes of tungsten and 450 tonnes of tin a year.
In a report to investors Wolf Minerals said the £123.1 million project would exploit rising tungsten prices, with ammonium paratungstate (APT), the most traded of tungsten products, predicted to be above $48,000 per tonne (£28,518) in 2016. In May the price was $36,600 per tonne (£21,743).
Wolf Minerals said currently 60 per cent of tungsten reserves were in China but “it is anticipated that when in production, the project [Hemerdon] will be one of the world’s largest, high-margin tungsten mining operations”.
“The British Geological Survey, in September 2011, listed tungsten as one of the top five strategically important metals, and development of the Hemerdon mine would mean the UK would be host to a major secure source of processed tungsten,” the company said on its website.
Deposits were first discovered on the site in 1867 but mining ceased in 1944.