These images were taken on an arranged tour of the Hemerdon Mine site in 2012. For a day that held so much promise the weather was rubbish; cold, and wet, consequently the photography did not really go to plan.
The area was totally cleared in 2014 in preparation for the new development, there was an extensive 1940’s processing mill which sadly was lost. The mine was initially worked in 1867 on a small scale. The first real operational period was during the First World War when Tungsten was in short supply. The mine was worked as an open cast between 1918 and 1919 producing approximately 16,000 tonnes of ore.
During the Second World War operations were resumed once again. A new processing plant was erected in 1943 the remains of which were quite extensive but were subsequently demolished to make way for the new mine, the site finally closed in 1944. There has been an interest in the Tungsten and Tin deposits for many years; in the 1980’s there was an extensive drilling program, this and other investigations indicated a deposit of over 45 million tonnes. The low values of the deposits and the low price of Tungsten at the time caused the project to be abandoned.
After much investigation Wolf Minerals acquired the Hemerdon Mine site in 2014. Since then a new access road was built, a modern processing plant has been constructed and the mine is in full operation. With indicated ore reserves in the region of 200 million tonnes of .02% Tin and .018% Wolfram it could be one of the top four largest producers in the world.
There were two large warehouses that we were allowed access into. Both contained many thousands of drill core samples. These were the product of the 1980’s investigation of the site and Wolf Minerals had used them as the basis for the modern mine plan.
This is the second warehouse which was in quite a bad way. Sadly vandals had wrecked much of the interior, but it was still interesting to have an explore. Consequently all the cores had been removed to the main warehouse.
The remaining images on this page were taken on a second trip to the mine in 2013. Soon after my visit the site was fenced off in preparation for the demolition.
The processing mill here was completed in 1943 when it took over from the earlier plant. It was fully equipped with up to date equipment and was designed to treat over 1 million tonnes per year. With labour shortages due to the war and machinery failures the plant never reached its full potential. I subsequently closed in 1944 when oversea supplies became available again.
Sadly in 2018 the new mine (renamed to Drakelands Mine) was put on care and maintenance after the owners Wolf Minerals ceased to trade. All mining was suspended after significant losses. The causes for the failure were many but the clay in the material was a constant source of problems for the processing plant.
It would be good to see the site taken on by another company, after a huge investment of time and money it must be worth the effort.