On 8th December the University of Exeter team welcomed one of our newest Project Partner on Met4Tech: the International Tin Association (ITA) at the Environment and Sustainability Institute, based at Exeter’s Penryn campus.
The representatives of the ITA (Jeremy, Archie, James) met with the Met4Tech team (Eva, Carol and Victoria) as part of their tour of the ITA’s south west partners. Cornwall’s illustrious history with tin mining, brought prosperity to the county throughout the 19th and 20th century. Thousands of mines were open at the peak of this industrial groundswell, with the last mine closing around 1998. Recently there is much renewed interest in tin, lithium and tungsten mining in the UK. Tin is regularly overlooked but vital in the electronics industry for the solder that holds device components together. Lithium and tungsten are necessary to supply the growing demand for technology metal in the energy transition.
This constructive in-person meeting enabled a thorough discussion of the Met4Tech goals, and building stronger links between the academic and industrial fields. Met4Tech Thematic Area 2 is developing a detailed case study of technology metals (tin and tungsten) production networks in Cornwall, due to the proximity to the past mining and present resources, as well as the Camborne School of Mines based in Penryn.
The wealth of real world information that ITA can access will benefit the Met4Tech project greatly. The ITA will also be working closely with the project team at British Geological Society on Thematic Area 1, describing material flows and value chains for the National Virtual Data Observatory. This transfer of key data, knowledge and skills through working collaboratively with the partners will ensure all parties gain from the connection.
Discussions also turned to circular economy principles and criticality assessments, and how to proceed with modelling future scenarios. The Met4Tech Circular Economy Roadmap being developed for producers, manufacturers, governance and consumers in Thematic Area 4 will build on these models to offer a pathway for the technology metals value chains to become more fully circular and sustainable in practice.
For more information about the International Tin Association visit their website: https://www.internationaltin.org/