Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 4 December 2014


On Monday evening I had a meeting at Westminster with the Chief Executive Officer of Wolf Minerals Limited to review with him the progress of the tungsten mine at Hemerdon to date. If you have travelled on the Plympton to Lee Moor road recently you will have noticed a change in the landscape. Wolf are digging a great big hole just over the ridge and the displaced earth is being piled up alongside the road.

Wolf are making good progress with this project that is introducing much needed work and finance into our economy.

They have spent £85 million so far, much of that money now circulating in our area. I understand that 95% of all of the kit necessary to assemble the processing plant is now on site, one third of the steel framework has been erected and all of the concrete poured. This is impressive progress given the extremely wet weather we have recently experienced.

Hundreds of thousands of tons of material has already been dug out of the ground; much of it stockpiled waiting to be processed, but some of it already evident on the road to Lee Moor.

There is no doubt that this will disfigure that part of the moor for a season (although it is far from the most attractive section of Dartmoor to start with) but will be redeveloped into natural contours when the operation is at an end.

Thirty people are now directly employed by Wolf a number that will rise sharply as production gets nearer. Many of them hail from the West Country. Over 350 people are working on site as contractors putting in place the substantial processing plant that will process the ore mined in due course and extracting the 0.2% of Tungsten to be found in every chunk dug out of the ground.

There are bound to be tensions with the local community when such a massive construction project takes place, but with the exception of one or two complaints about noise, the process to date has gone reasonably well. That corner of the moor is well used to mining as just up the road the china clay pits continue to provide much needed jobs.

There has to be a balance between conservation and mining where the precious metals are found and a balance between peace of the local community and progress when undertaking a project of this enormity.

So far Wolf have managed the project well.

posted by Gary @ 09:05