Cornwall is famous for its past tin and copper mining and is a UNESCO World Heritage mining site. It provides an example of the full mining cycle, including mining legacies of pollution but also landscape and cultural heritage now important in tourism, and regeneration after mining. There are active world class china clay operations, plus granite, including aggregate, slate active mines and quarries. The UK’s first metals mine for 40 years opened in September 2015, just over the county border in Devon and provides an example of opening a critical metals mine in Europe, and there are currently three main active metals exploration projects, for tin at South Crofty and Redmoor and for lithium in the central Cornwall area, as well as a controversial plan to re-open a quarry in support of a UK renewable energy project, and various possibilities for by-product extraction and re-use of waste.
The increasing demand for metals used in the production of electric cars, such as tin and lithium, has led to a renewed interest in the deposits in the MIREU partner region Cornwall in the UK.