Drakelands open-pit tungsten mine in Devon shuts down after failing to secure further funding
AUSTRALIAN-owned tungsten miners Wolf Minerals (UK) Ltd, operators of the Drakelands open-pit mine at Hemerdon, near Plymouth, in Devon, have entered into voluntary administration after failing to secure a funding lifeline.
Earlier this week the company released a statement saying that if longstanding talks with key financial stakeholders did not reach a positive conclusion within two days, it would run out of short-term working capital.
Today Wolf Minerals said they had been unable to satisfactorily conclude these discussions on refinancing and therefore were no longer in a position to meet their short-term working capital requirements to continue operations at the Drakelands mine.
Consequently, Wolf Minerals (UK) Ltd has ceased trading with immediate effect, putting more than 200 jobs at risk. The company’s shares on the AIM market have been suspended and it has appointed voluntary administrators at Australian-based firm Ferrier Hodgson.
Drakelands was hailed as the first new metals mine in the UK for more than 40 years when it was brought back into production in 2015.
Having spent £130 million in start-up expenses alone, Wolf Minerals had hoped to produce around 3,000 tonnes of tungsten and tin per year from the mine, but from the outset the business suffered from ongoing process problems and world tungsten price volatility.