SHANGHAI, Mar. 30 -- The company planning to re-open the South Crofty tin mine in Cornwall, UK, is now emphasizing potential co-product revenues in a bid to attract fresh investors. Western United Mines is embarking on a surface drilling programme to identify copper, zinc, silver and gold resources, as well as tin. Chief Operating Officer John Webster told local newspaper Western Morning News: "We have to get away from the tin mindset. Trying to market a tin project today is a bit like trying to sell your mother-in-law – it's impossible. Investment at Crofty has now reached £13 million and we need to make the most of that."
"We now have a budget of about £6 million for a nine-month programme of 25,000 metres of surface drilling in conjunction with our recently acquired drill. That will hit pretty much every potential ore body we've got. But that's just the start. The essence of what we're trying to do here is to establish an economic mine. To put it into production we're going to need about £50 million because that's what it takes to develop a modern mine at around a million tonnes of ore per year."
Western United Mines currently employs 60 full-time staff at South Crofty, with work so far focused on underground exploration and development. Western Union Mines is majority owned by Baseresult Holdings, which bought South Crofty in 2001. The other shareholder is Cassiterite LP, an investment vehicle for global commodity trader Trafigura Beheer, among others. South Crofty closed in March 1998, having produced 2,250 tonnes of tin-in-concentrate in its last full year of operation.