20 years ago, on the 6th of March, the last tin mine in Cornwall closed, an industry that has been a part of the county’s heritage for 4000 years. But there have been rumours of re-opening the mine in the coming years, bringing back the tradition to Cornwall.
Tin mining in Cornwall at the time was the region’s biggest source of economical income. The closing of Cornish tin mines was a long time coming due to the gradual decrease in tin value because of China importing the metal at a much lower cost. This left many people who had been involved in the industry for generations without a job and without many prospects.
Cornwall at the time, particularly Redruth and Camborne was very bleak and had very little to offer in terms of jobs. Talking to Tim Hubbard who was reporting for BBC Radio Cornwall on the day of Crofty’s closure, he said, “We’d seen the writing on the wall. These were the days before Eden, before the expansion of the university here, before Rick Stein made Padstow famous, before the Tate Gallery came. Cornwall was very very economically depressed.”
Understandably, locals were upset that tin mining in Cornwall had come to an end and many took to the streets of London to march against the closure of the mines.
However, Strongbow Explorations Inc. have started the South Crofty Tin Project in hope that the site can be reopened and are looking to begin work in the next few years. Minerals underground are thought to be worth between £3 billion and £4 billion. As the mine is currently flooded, a water treatment plan will be put into place and it could take up to 2 years to completely empty the water.
LISTEN: An interview with Tim Hubbard, a reporter for BBC Radio Cornwall on the day of Crofty’s closure.