Cornwall has a very good amount of tin deposits in its vicinity. Considering that tin is one of the scarcest metals known on Earth, Cornwall has become a profitable spot for metal mining. The history of Cornwall tin mining can be traced back as early as the Bronze Age approximately 2,150 BC and ended at the latter part of 20th Century upon the closing of South Crofty tin mine.
Cornwall contains most of the deposits of metals such as tin and copper. Tin saved the mining industry in Cornwall after copper became non-viable in several metal manufacturers. However, it did not entirely solve the problem on smaller communities since deep mining costs more.
Advantages of Tin Mining to Cornwall
Tin is a valuable metal with great practical usage, even in the modern times. From basic home usage to construction sites, tin has become even more advantageous. Tin is a highly corrosion-resistant element used in different metal works including processed canned goods and protecting metal parts in construction work from rusting.
Tin buildings in some parts of the United Kingdom are considered an “architectural gem.” Since its invention in 1892, tin buildings have been very practical to its occupants and owners considering that they are rust-proof. Tin churches even became homes to many people in a war-torn decade.
Effects of Tin in the Environment
On the other hand, Cornwall tin mining has left a detrimental effect to its environment. Although the industry generated hundreds of high-paying jobs for the residents, this was not enough to cover the impact of environmental degradation and hazards.
Tin as single atoms are not really toxic to any kind of organism, but organic tin is. The organic derivative of the metal is considered as a pollutant and has proliferated in Cornwall’s coastal areas and its ecosystem. It can disrupt the healthy food chain process and may affect aquatic life.
Tin mining in Cornwall has provided different advantages, but another adverse effect it had was on buildings. At the peak of Cornwall mining, steam engine was invented, believing that it could bring out underground water for further deep mining. This “new” idea by Thomas Newcomen worked, but at the expense of building stability. Underground mining causes that gradually loosen the soil at the top surface. If this happens, buildings and other materials above the affected area will loosen and will eventually shrink.
Buildings need strong foundation, especially with how the soil is formed. Because of Cornwall’s tin mining, a large percentage of the area has become inappropriate for buildings and residential areas. Although the product of tin mining can protect buildings and provide people with useful non-corrosive tools, this was not enough to ignore the disadvantages.
In this case, tin mining in Cornwall is a double-edge sword for its residents. It is advantageous in a way that it produced more jobs and uplifted the place’s economic status, but will leave their place unsuitable for developing structural sites.
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