More than just Poldark - why Cornwall was an 'obvious choice' for G7 Summit

  • Watch Kathy Wardle's report

When Prime Minister Boris Johnson chose Cornwall as the host of this year's G7 Summit, he said it was 'an obvious choice'.

'Why?' Some may ask.

It was not just because of the county's 'craggy cliffs and gentle coves' - but because of its world-class technology and science sectors.

Cornwall is leading the way on renewable energy for a greener future and is home to the best of British technology.

Miners in Cornwall digging for lithium - one of the many projects Cornwall is leading on.

The mining relics of the Luxulyan Valley are a reminder of Cornwall's industrial past - but also a reflection of where it is going.

Deborah Boden, from Cornwall and West Devon Mining World Heritage Site, described the county as "the birth place" of the industrial revolution.

She added: "The natural capital - the mineral riches that we had here - were the inspiration for really groundbreaking, literally, pioneering technologies and skills that were in demand then all around the world.

"We have this amazing global reputation for our mining skill and prowess which still exists today."

At the same time, Cornwall's ancient landscape is putting it at the forefront of future tech - with geologists successfully test drilling for lithium, which could be used to power smartphones and cars.

In September, Cornish Lithium announced initial results of tests which found some of the world’s highest grades of lithium in geothermal waters anywhere in the world.

The United Downs-based firm is now being showcased to G7 delegates during the summit.

Mining could become a major industry in Cornwall in the years ahead.

"People think of Poldark and 'isn't it quaint' and 'isn't the mining lovely' but actually there is a real cutting edge innovation to the mining industry down here right now," said Lucy Crane, who is a senior geologist for the firm.

Renewable energy is also being harvested from Cornwall's coast.

Around 16km off Hayle, on the north Cornwall coast sits the Wave Hub.

The facility has been set up to develop and test offshore technology for renewable energy.

An offshore wind farm could be developed off the coast of Hayle Credit: Principle Power/Dock90

Mark Duddridge, from the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, said Cornwall is bidding for £30million in Government funding to build floating wind farms far offshore.

The plan will cost £64million in total, with hopes it will begin in 2023.

"They could power 170,000 homes by 2030 and create a new export industry for the UK, with thousands of jobs," he said.

"The first turbines would attach to Wave Hub, an existing offshore socket connected to land a stone’s throw from the G7 hotel.''

'A future we aspire to'

Cornwall also has a rapidly growing tech sector with world-class digital and software firms employing hundreds of people in high-skilled jobs.

Engineered Arts creates humanoid robots at a workshop in Falmouth. It has clients in 27 countries and has made installations for NASA and Facebook.

During the summit, its robots will be interacting with visitors to ‘Cornwall House’ hosted by Falmouth Arts College - showcasing the best manufacturing, commercial, consumer and tourism attractions that Cornwall has to offer.

Director of Operations at Engineered Arts Morgan Roe said the firm aspires to a future where people and robots work together for entertainment, service, and learning.

He added: “The G7 Summit is an opportunity to collaborate and address our many challenges and aspirations for a better planet - and unite behind the goal of a better future."

RoboThespian Humanoid Robot Credit: ITV News

It is one of a number of Cornish firms hoping to benefit from being showcased to G7 delegates, and press from around the globe.

"Let’s seize a once-in-a-generation opportunity to influence some of the world’s most powerful people to put climate change, the environment and social justice at the heart of the global recovery," Mr Duddridge added.

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