Tungsten West receives draft permit for Hemerdon tungsten mine Mineral Processing Facility

Tungsten West, the owner and operator of the Hemerdon tungsten and tin mine in southwest England, has announced that it has received a draft permit from the UK’s Environment Agency for the operation of the Mineral Processing Facility (MPF) at Hemerdon.

The draft permit is currently undergoing internal review to ensure all aspects are aligned with the operational requirements of the MPF. Following this review by the company and the finalisation of the documentation, a public consultation will be held where the Environment Agency will identify that they are ‘minded to’ grant this permit. This is the final step before the Environment Agency can issue the permit. Throughout the consultation period, Tungsten West says it will remain committed to engaging with the Environment Agency and relevant stakeholders.

The receipt of the draft permit represents a significant step in securing further financing for the project and is the gateway for commencement of the updated Feasibility Study, which the company anticipates will then lead into the main financing round.

Neil Gawthorpe, CEO of Tungsten West, commented: “I am delighted to confirm receipt of the draft permit for the MPF, which represents a major step-forward in our goal of bringing Hemerdon back into production by the end of 2025, providing an ethical and sustainable domestic supply of critical minerals. I would like to thank the team at the Environment Agency for working closely with the Company and its consultants throughout 2023 to deliver this draft, and we look forward to progressing this process timeously through to a permit.”

Tungsten West acquired the mine out of a receivership process in 2019 after its most recent operators stopped production in 2018. The site benefits from over £200 million investment under the previous operators, including the development of significant infrastructure and processing facilities. Hemerdon was producing tungsten and tin concentrates from 2015 to 2018, before the operator put the mine into receivership due to a number of issues that have since been identified and will be rectified by Tungsten West.

Notably Tungsten West has already taken delivery of seven TOMRA XRT ore-sorters in 2023 for sorting of ROM ore, which consists of six duty units and one standby unit. A revised front end process design was also unveiled in 2023 that included a secondary crushed ore stockpile ahead of the ore sorters. This provides up to circa-40 hours of redundancy capacity to the crushing circuit, thereby de-coupling the front end crushing circuit from the minerals processing facility (MPF) – minimising downtime and maximising availability of the concentrator circuit.