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190923 | Cornwall is on the edge of a 'second golden era'


Cornwall is on the edge of a 'second golden era'

We look at the projects in the region as part of Cornwall Live's Edge Awards 2019

Inside one of the shafts at South Crofty mine in Pool. If all goes well it will reopen by 2021 (Image: Strongbow Exploration Inc)


Cornwall has been at the forefront of renewable energy generation for years and it is hoping to take full advantage of its capacity to produce solar, wind and wave power along with geothermal and minerals.

It has enormous potential for Cornwall's economy and could easily produce more than enough power for the entire county.

As the county aims to be carbon neutral by 2030 great strides are being taken – active exploration for tungsten, tin and copper is taking place, it wants to be first commercial offshore wind farm and is pioneering the UK’s first deep geothermal power plant.

For more details about Cornwall Live's EDGE Awards 2019 scroll down

Being carbon neutral is a big challenge, but one where Cornwall and the wider South West can become a global leader. In less than a decade the region has cut its carbon footprint by almost a fifth.

Cornwall will be the first place in the UK to have a geothermal power plant (Image: Tom Last)

We have more geothermal energy resources deep underground than any other part of Britain and the minerals and metals of Cornwall and Devon that powered the first industrial revolution will power the next.

Kim Conchie, CEO of the Cornwall Chamber of Commerce said we are the verge of a “second golden era” in mining, alongside geothermal.

“Renewable is one of the things we are doing differently,” he said. “Geothermal is very exciting. It could make us the absolute centre and put us at the forefront of renewable energy for hundreds of years.”

Cornwall wants to be carbon neutral by 2030

Here we take a look at some of the biggest projects taking place in the Duchy -


Drilling operations began last year at United Downs where the first deep geothermal electricity plant in the UK, capable of producing electricity and sustainable heat, is planned.

Geothermal Engineering Ltd (GEL) are behind the £18 million project and have identified around 20 other sites in Cornwall where they are looking to gain planning permission to drill, although they remained tight lipped about locations.

Jubilee Pool in Penzance is benefiting from geothermal (Image: Greg Martin)

They are behind the geothermal lido at Jubilee Pool in Penzance to ensure its heating all year round. However some issues with the well drilling has resulted in a delay to the project, which is now expected to be completed this autumn.

Company project director Dr Ryan Law said they were able to drill to 3.1 miles deep with temperatures reaching 195C. Geothermal makes use of the natural heat of the earth and granite has the highest temperatures in the UK.

“What we are doing in Cornwall is vitally important for the whole geothermal energy sector,” he said. “All eyes are on us. The potential is enormous.”

It is hoped the plant, which is no bigger than three double garages, will be in full operation next spring and is expected to supply up to 3MW of electricity which can power 3,000 homes.

GEL project manager Peter Ledingham and geologist Lucy Cotton in front of the drilling rig at United Downs which help exploit Cornwall's rich geothermal energy potential
GEL project manager Peter Ledingham and geologist Lucy Cotton in front of the drilling rig at United Downs which help exploit Cornwall's rich geothermal energy potential (Image: GEL)

The other benefit is there are no peaks and troughs like other renewable energy sources, so will be consistent throughout the year.

“We can bring further jobs to the area from other uses,” he added. Discussions are taking place with a flower grower to see how the heat produced can help grow more flowers here instead of importing.

The Edge Awards

Cornwall Live EDGE Awards 2019 categories

  • Best Tech Start up or SME

  • Best Digital Innovation in Tourism

  • Best Community / Social Use of Digital

  • Teach Digital Award

  • Learn Digital Award

  • Innovation in Marine, Agriculture or Energy

  • Digital Rising Star/s

  • Best Digital Innovation in Health and Wellbeing

  • Best Fintech Company

  • Best Software Developer/s

  • Best Video, Animation or Game

  • Excellence in Export

  • EDGE Award for Excellence

We’ll be running content throughout the next three months to promote and celebrate Cornwall’s leading role in the tech and digital business sector. If you’re interested in becoming a partner or sponsor or would like to share your story and be part of the EDGE campaign, email Gemma Fox at

For any enquiries and to book tickets please contact Felicity Panting on 01752 293113 or via email at . For more information and to nominate your business, visit the Cornwall Live EDGE Awards event website .

The closing date for entries is September 30



Cornwall is abundant in high-technology metals and mineral deposits, including Lithium, tin and tungsten and this was highlighted at a conference in Canada.

The Government showcased Cornwall’s mineral wealth, technology and mining expertise as one of the UK’s High Potential Opportunities – which means it can be promoted as a globally-significant resource and huge investment potential.

There are vast quantities of lithium locked inside granite stores up to 1,000 metres below the Cornish soil (in red) (Image: Cornish Lithium)

Penryn-based Cornish Lithium is focussed on exploring for Lithium within geothermal brines that occur beneath the surface around Cornish granite.

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It wants to establish a high-tech, environmentally responsible mining industry here, capitalising on the global demand for battery storage technology.

The granite in Cornwall holds the key to lithium

It secured £1 million in funding to explore possible sites for drilling for the rare metal and is looking at an area between Camborne and Truro.

Keith Liddell, a member of the shareholder group, said: “We see a real potential for lithium production in Cornwall. Combined with the global shift towards electric vehicles and battery storage, we believe Cornish Lithium could potentially become a very significant player.”

Jeremy Wrathall, founder of Cornish Lithium

Described by Goldman Sachs as “the new gasoline” due to its ability to fuel transformation in the automotive industry and move towards a zero-emissions future, particularly when combined with renewable power sources.

Lithium can also be used for ceramics, lubricants and glass.

Read More


Cornwall Resources Limited (CRL) which is owned by Strategic Minerals Plc, is actively exploring to tin, tungsten and copper at the Redmoor Project near Kelly Bray, East Cornwall to create a modern underground tin-tungsten-copper mine.

The results so far are significant – drilling over 14,000m of drill core and suggesting it offers positive returns.

The Redmoor Project in Cornwall

On a contained metals basis, the Redmoor Mineral Resource ranks as the number one largest undeveloped tin or tungsten mining project in the world.

“This shows the potential for Cornwall to restart its mining industry through the discovery of world-class deposits,” said Brett Grist, exploration manager at CRL.

Inside one of the shafts at South Crofty mine in Pool. If all goes well it will reopen by 2021 (Image: Strongbow Exploration Inc)

Canadian company Strongbow Exploration Inc owns an interest in South Crofty Tin Project and associated mineral rights and plans to reopen the mine, which closed in 1998.

United Downs Deep Geothermal Power project at St Day near Redruth (Image: GEL)

Wind/wave energy

Cornwall could produce more than enough power to meet local needs by by harnessing solar, wind and wave power and there is a plan for the South West to become part of the floating offshore wind revolution.

That’s the ambition of the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), which is promoting the region as an ideal location for floating windfarms that would generate clean, green energy miles offshore and not be visible from land.

Harnessing the potential of floating offshore wind energy

Wave Hub, off Hayle, is being repurposed to support floating offshore wind technology demonstration and this and other capabilities can provide the basis for a floating offshore wind cluster.

Stock image of a large offshore wind farm
Stock image of a large offshore wind farm

Matt Hodson, marine hub operations director at the Marine-I team, said: “Offshore is a crucial part of the energy mix. It provides low cost, highly secure energy which is low carbon.

“When you look at the facilities that are already in place like Wave Hub, the expertise of our universities and the supply chain, there are some real opportunities for our region and we’re incredibly well-placed to take advantage of the global growth in the market.”

There are around 800 companies in the region working in the MarineTech sector which is looking at a variety of projects.



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