Drakelands Tungsten and Tin Mine at Hemerdon Awards Power supply contract.

Another visit to Wolf Minerals web page threw up another snippit of information.

The new  published as a ASX announcement on the 6 January 2015, that Wolf Minerals the specialty metal development company at Drakelands mine is to be supplied with power from the National grid by DONG Energy after the Energy Services Partnership Ltd conducted a tendering process.  WONG Energy won the contract to supply 82GWh for the next 3 years.

Russell Clark, the Managing Director of Wolf Minerals is on record as saying,

“As we continue to build the mine and processing plant at Drakelands, it’s very pleasing to be able to lock in a power contract at rates similar to those used in the DFS, which will contribute to Wolf being a low cost producer of tungsten.”

DONG Energy, which is part owned by the Danish Government, also has a port folio of UK businesses that include renewable offshore wind turbine power generation. DONG Energy are also involved in the production and exploration of gas and oil.

DONG Energy are looking to continue its growth in the UK power market, it being in the top 3 largest gas suppliers to the UK commercial and industrial market.

Checking the Dong Energy UK web page there was no mention of this sizeable contract that I could find.

Looking at the Hemerdon Ball (Drakelands Mine) through the use of Historical Maps

As part of my interest into the Drakelands Mine site I took a look at some of the historical maps published by Ordnance Survey  Digimap service with the use of an Educational Licence.

I was interested to see how and what recorded changes had been mapped from about 1860 until the present (2014).

Take a looking at the present day map adapted from 1:50,000 OS map of the area.


Ordnance Survey Digimap of Hemerdon Ball (2014)

The legal copyright acknowledgement:

Crown Copyright and Database Right 2014 Ordnance Survey (Digimap Licence ). FOR EDUCATIONAL USE ONLY  Scale 1:50 000 Aug 2014 Grid SX55617 57985. some of the following maps are Scaled at 1: 25 000 with some of the oldest maps being printed at 1:7,500.

You can see that  the mine area sits above the 210m contour line adjacent to the trig point spot height mark of 212m at the top of hill.  This advantage point gives the mine a magnificent vista of the surrounding area.  This is probably why the area has seen settlements from prehistoric times until the discovery and mining of tungsten and tin ore deposits.

From closer inspection of a zoomed in section of the map available via Digimap, it can be seen that there have been various industrial activities occurring around and upon the Hemerdon Ball location.

Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 18.12.32

Digital close up of the current Ordnance Survey Digimap of Hemerdon Ball (2014) 

These include up to 6 mine shafts, several quarries, china clay works pits along with their settling ponds, Trout lakes, a transmitter mast and a plantation.  This is all set within the farmland that  surround Hemerdon Ball.

The term Ball is thought to be the corrupted Cornish word ‘bal’ for a mine.  The term Wheal often associated with mines in the region means ‘work place’.

Hemerdon 1890

1890 Ordnance Survey Digimap of Hemerdon Ball (2014)

Looking at some of the earliest maps available, the 1890 map of the region, there does not appear to be any mining buildings on the Hemerdon Ball site.  Now the name of the place suggests that there must have been a mine here.  There appears to be no suitable roads marked on the map leading to the mine area and the land is laid out in what looks like an agricultural field grid.  It is generally accepted that tungsten was first discovered with tin ore deposits in 1867 at Hemerdon although there have been several tin mines and the china clay mines to in the area.

Unfortunately the magnification resolution was not sufficient to see if the developments of the mine building were recorded during the 1930’s, however the 1950’s maps does show the mine building very clearly.  There may have been restrictions on the original maps during the 1930’s and 40’s due to the Second World War.

The study of the historical maps of the area hold great fascination with me.  I could while away many and hour studying them.

I will draw a hold for now and revisit the maps in more detail later.

Drakelands award Assay Contract to SGS

An  announcement was published by Wolf Minerals on their web page  on the 22 Dec 2014 stating that it has awarded SGS the Assay Laboratory contract. This contract is to provide independent assaying services to the mine during the production of Tungsten and Tin for the next 5 year.

The services SGS will provide as an independent assaying service, are assay of grade control samples, product verification and the certification of the products sent to the customer as they leave the plant.

Wolf minerals states that ‘SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company and is recognised as the global benchmark for quality and integrity.’  Russell Clark, Wolf Minerals’ Managing Director is on record as saying

“We are very pleased to be partnering with SGS at Drakelands. Our custom built laboratory, operated by their very experienced team, will provide efficient and accurate assaying at the site, with 13 jobs created as a result. As we continue to build the mine and processing plant at Drakelands, it’s very pleasing to be able to lock in this contract at rates similar to those used in the DFS, which will contribute to Wolf being a low cost producer of tungsten.”

 Image of the new plant buildings under construction at Drakelands Hemerdon Mine that will process the Tungsten and Tin ore on site as it is extracted during the mining processes.

Hemerdon Plant Buildings jpg

SGS are a world leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. They are recognised as a global benchmark for quality and integrity that have over  80,000 employees across a network of over 1,650 offices and laboratories around the globe ( according to SGS’s Web page)

Their  core services categories in to four areas are:

  1. Inspection: through a comprehensive range of world-leading inspection and verification services, such as checking the condition and weight of traded goods at transshipment, which helps to control quantity and quality, and meet all relevant regulatory requirements across different regions and markets
  2. Testing: their global network of testing facilities, staffed by knowledgeable and experienced personnel,  reduce risks, shorten time to market and test the quality, safety and performance of products against relevant health, safety and regulatory standards
  3. Certification: SGS  demonstrate that products, processes, systems or services are compliant with either national or international standards and regulations or customer defined standards, through certification.
  4. Verification: SGS also ensure that products and services comply with global standards and local regulations. Combining global coverage with local knowledge, unrivalled experience and expertise in virtually every industry, SGS covers the entire supply chain from raw materials to final consumption.

From this impressive portfolio of service and also being renowned as a global leader in assaying, it is an obvious choice that Wolf Minerals have plumbed for SGS as their independent assayer.

Wolf Minerals new video (Released Nov 2014)

After visiting Wolf Minerals new  page I clicked on to their new video to see what it was like.  It is a very informative and well put together.  Really liked it.

The collage of images that scroll across the top of the page are amazing.

Open Cast mining at Hemerdon

The size and scale of operations is impressive for only 3.5% of the worlds tungsten.

Just imagine if the deposit were any bigger.  How much more of the Dartmoor countryside would need to be mined?

Drakelands Mine Whats happening lately?

There has not been much of late in the press so I thought I would have a look at what has been reported in the media about Drakelands Mine.

Scanning through the archives I found this nice little article Drakelands (Hemerdon). In summary it states that the £123 million Drakelands tungsten and tin mine is the first new metal mine to be opened in the UK for 45 years.  within the article it alludes to  some of the industries that use Tungsten e.g. the aerospace industry and the like.

The article also give a little information about Wolf Minerals Limited the specialty metals firm behind the £125 million investment in the mine which they report as being listed on the both stock exchanges in the UK and Australia.

It is forested that the mine, when full up and running  (In mid 2015), will bring much needed jobs to the area.  A very welcome prospect.  The awarding of contracts for various services and equipment has already begun and is well established.  This will significantly help the regional economy.   Many local firms have won some of the contract to design, manufacture and supply equipment for the processing of the ore where as other companies will be providing infrastructure and buildings to the site. The managing director Russell Clark is quoted as saying “The Drakelands Mine, Hemerdon project will create about 200 direct jobs and pump hundreds of millions of pounds into the South West and UK economies over the next decade.”

Trawling through the “inter-web” I came across this blog by Barry Wills, published in July 2014, where he has presented some of the history,  local news about Drakelands mine, the Hemerdon Project.  Nice one Barry.