Friday, 1 February 2019

Drakelands’ fallout

In October of last year, Wolf Minerals – an Australian mining outfit and owner of the Drakelands tungsten and tin mine in Hemerdon near Plymouth – ceased trading and appointed administrators, after losing £100 million over the last three years.

Questions still hang over the future of the mine and the restoration of the scarred landscape. There were rumours of a rescue last year, but talks "hit a snag over the cost of restoring the land after its working life has finished." If there are plans for a rescue, there are currently no signs – as machinery continues to be taken off-site; see below.

But it’s not just the shareholders of Wolf Minerals that have lost millions. This week, UK mining operator Hargreaves Services took an £8.1m hit relating to Wolf’s failure:
A total of £5.1m of trade debt and work in process balances were written off, while the remaining £3m was made up of redundancy and other costs.
Commenting on the decision to work with Wolf, Hargreaves CEO Gordon Banham said:
They got a lot of funding. I think the team were quite right to take on a contract with a well funded business but unfortunately they couldn’t get the mining right.