| SYDNEY, March 19
SYDNEY, March 19 Tin mining is set to resume in
the United Kingdom some 16 years after the last mine closed, as
an Australian-listed company revives a tradition dating back to
the Bronze Age.
Wolf Minerals said on Wednesday it will begin
production of tin and tungsten in little more than a year at its
Hemerdon mine in Devon after raising A$182.7 million ($167.9
million) to underwrite construction work.
Tungsten, prized for its use in manufacturing super-hard
steels, will be the main focus of the project, but the mine will
also yield 460 tonnes a year of tin as a by-product at peak
Britain produced about 10,000 tonnes of tin a year in the
mid-1800s, about half the world's output at the time. The
neighbouring county of Cornwall boasted 2,000 tin mines alone.
Wolf will use revenue from its tin to offset the cost of
producing 3,450 tonnes a year of tungsten, which is in demand
due to restrictions on output and exports by major producer
Analysts see demand for tungsten growing at 4-5.5 percent a
year, while the Hemerdon project would produce about 3.5 percent
of global forecast 2016 demand, a Wolf spokesman said.
The company's shares fell 23 percent on Wednesday to A$0.345
a share after it raised the funds at A$0.30 a share.
Wolf said its major shareholders, private equity groups
Resource Capital Funds and a unit of New Zealand's Todd Corp
Ltd, took part in the raising, boosting their maximum interests
in the company to 41.8 percent and 32.5 percent, respectively.
JP Morgan and Blackrock also participated in the
placement as first-time investors, according to a source
familiar with the transactions.
Mining in Cornwall and Devon began in the Bronze Age around
2300 BC and ended when the South Crofty tin mine in Cornwall
closed in 1998.
($1 = 1.0950 Australian Dollars)
(Editing by Richard Pullin)