Owners of Hemerdon tungsten mine in Devon to pause development due to 'global economic challenges'

The mine at Hemerdon was taken over by Tunsten West after the previous operator went into liquidation. Credit: ITV News

The owners of a huge tungsten mine in South Devon have announced the project will be paused - just weeks after saying they were preparing to restart work.

The site at Hemerdon, just outside Plymouth, is the third largest mine of its type in the world.

In 2018 the previous owner, Wolf Minerals, went into liquidation and the site was bought by Tungsten West.

Back in March the firm told ITV News the site could be operational again by the end of this year - but today chief executive Max Denning announced a re-think because of spiralling costs.

The chief executive of Tunsten West said the project would be paused because of 'global economic challenges'. Credit: ITV News

“It's clear we are not alone in that many mining operations, whether in production or development, are feeling the impact of the current unprecedented global economic challenges," he said

"However, as Tungsten West had only recently commenced development it is still in a position to alter its development strategy to take account of these factors and can build on significant project infrastructure and IP (intellectual property) within our team.

Tunsten is one of the toughest metals in the world. Credit: ITV News

The company said its decision was informed by the rising cost of energy, along with key materials such as steel, cement, explosives, power and diesel.

Mr Denning added: “We have access to a significant quantity of tungsten, tin, aggregates, processing equipment and knowledge on site.

"These provide all the key ingredients required to formulate a revised production strategy and successfully bring Hemerdon back into profitable production. I look forward to updating shareholders with progress in due course."