WUM spreading its net

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Checking the recently extracted core samples for mineral content

Western United Mines (WUM) is to widen its exploration and investigation programme with widespread surface drilling beyond the South Crofty site.

As part of a strategy to speed up the process of getting the mine back into full production and pinpointing exactly where the best mineral deposits are, geologists and engineers will be drilling down at specific areas across Cornwall to collect core samples.

Final shakedown trials are being carried out at WUM’s base in Pool on two refurbished surface core drill rigs before they are moved to begin drilling in earnest at other sites.

The first place to host a surface drill will be Duchy College’s Rosewarne site in Camborne. As an experimental farm providing an excellent horticultural resource with national plant collections on site, protecting the college’s land is of paramount importance.

College Estates Manager, Nick Pascoe, said Duchy College was extremely happy to allow WUM to drill through their land and had every confidence WUM managers would stick to their promise of ensuring the land would be returned to its original state when drilling finished.

He said: “Thinking of this county’s history, would Duchy College even be here without its mining heritage since the organisation spawns from Camborne Tech which used to train apprentices for the mines and Holman Bros? If there is any chance at all of finding minerals beneath our land then we should grab it with both hands. In the current economic crisis anything Cornwall can do to be more self-supporting must be encouraged. This is a first-class opportunity for us all to prosper.”

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WUM owns 150 square kilometres of mineral rights around Cornwall from as far south as the Lizard to land north of Bodmin. These areas include some of the most intensely mineralised areas in the world. As a polymetallic venture, WUM will be set up to extract all valuable minerals mined.

As the next step to finding more of Cornwall’s buried treasure, the surface drilling programme will initially target an area within a 20km (12 mile) radius of the South Crofty site. It will be a permanent part of the mine’s operational development rationale.

WUM chief operations officer, John Webster, said: “At the moment the area we are working on, compared with the area we could potentially explore, is the size of a postage stamp. To unlock this county’s mineral wealth for everyone’s benefit we need to expand that area and quickly. These surface drills are the key to our success and to our ability to continue rapidly expanding production.”

The programme will begin with two drills but John has plans to increase that to a maximum of ten in the future. Each drill will be manned by a team of two or three drillers per shift. Extra staff have already been hired and are training to operate the first drills.