UNESCO Lates at the London Science Museum

On Wednesday 27th of March the Cornwall and west Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site team attended the Science Museum ‘Lates’ Science and Technology event in London on 27 March, organised in partnership with UNESCO UK, as a  key exhibitor.

We successfully applied to be part of the event and were lucky enough to present at this prestigious national venue for the first time. We invited partners from Cornish Lithium and Camborne School of Mines to accompany us and share their pioneering work with the thousands of people who attended.

The Science Museum collaborated with UNESCO UK for this special evening of the Museum’s popular “Lates” events to showcase how their work contributes to making the world a better place for all. Three other UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Stonehenge, Maritime Greenwich and the Forth Bridge, alongside other internationally important environmental organisations like the British Antarctic Survey were among the other exhibitors. Set amongst the Science Museum’s collections with interactive displays, ground-breaking technology with some of the leading experts in science and heritage; the exhibits brought the museum and the UK’s science to life.

We spoke to a huge number of people about our Cornish mining heritage and its significance especially in relation to the fantastic work being undertaken by Camborne School of Mines and Cornish Lithium. The all-women team were lucky enough to speak to visitors from all walks of life with all levels of knowledge on the subject; we even had a big number of Cornish visit us at the event! A huge thank you to all the Cornish who came we are particularly grateful for your support. A particular thank you to Mark of Kernow in the City and Wreckers Wednesdays who got the word out to the Cornish in London and came down himself. Also a big thank you to Fiona from Cornwall 365 for coming to see us!

Situated in the making of the modern world gallery, the backdrop to our exhibit was the Puffing Billy; the world’s oldest surviving steam locomotive built in 1813-1814 weighing in at approximately 8 tons. Although the Puffing Billy is not Cornish, with Trevithick’s High Pressure Steam Engine and Boiler in sight in the adjacent Energy Hall we felt right at home!

Lucy Crane; Senior Exploration Geologist at Cornish Lithium and Hester Claridge; also an Exploration Geologist with Cornish Lithium were on hand to talk with people about what their phones are made of and where the raw materials come from, including how much of it comes from Cornwall. The ladies even had a selection from the Camborne School of Mines mineral collection with them allowing people to get hands on with the raw materials in their phones.

Cornish Lithium at the Science Museum, LondonCornish Lithium’s display also included an audio visual presentation showing the evolution of knowledge of our geological resources, from the early historic surveys and mapping of mines in our World Heritage Site to modern day GIS mapping and 3D modelling techniques.

With the Cornish Exhibit having crowds more than 5 people deep encircling them for most of the night and even having a last minute rush as the event was closing; it was clear how many people are in awe of Cornwall’s mining culture and the potential of responsible mining.

Karen Hudson-Edwards; Professor in Sustainable Mining at Camborne School of Mines, give a series of presentations throughout the evening on the theme of “Discovering the Treasures beneath our feet”- an illustrated talk exploring the mineral resources beneath Cornwall and Devon, and how the region is pioneering sustainable mining techniques to extract these essential materials for modern communications and carbon reduction technologies. The room was packed with standing room only at both talks and was given wonderful feedback by those in attendance.

This fantastic event gave us the opportunity to take those in attendance on a journey through time in the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site, finding out about the Earth treasures this amazing landscape holds, how these are essential to our everyday lives, and how we mine them today. Cornwall has always been and is now still at the forefront of mining technology and that doesn’t look to be changing any time soon. We were extremely proud to be able to showcase Kernow; our beautiful People visiting the Cornish Lithium stand at the Science Museumhome and all it has to offer through both its mining heritage and its potential to provide a renewable future.

We want to say a huge thank you to Cornish Lithium and Camborne School of Mines for their support especially to Lucy Crane, Hester Claridge and Karen Hudson-Edwards for their fantastic work. We would also like to say thank you to all who came to see us, Thank you to all involved in this wonderful event for making it such an experience.

Background on our partners

Camborne School of Mines

Camborne School of Mines is a world-class combined mining school and geoscience department, rich in history and culture for over 125 years. They provide academic education and professional training in geoscience and mining for their many students, as well as offering a number of unique and innovative programmes designed for individuals working within the extraction industries. Their research covers a range of geoscience subjects, and focuses on many key areas including past environmental change, volcanic hazards, deep Earth processes, intelligent mining, efficiency and safety, critical raw materials, and sustainable mining. CSM has a long history of successful partnerships with both national and international companies and projects, playing a vital role by providing innovative solutions to global energy, natural resource, and environmental issues.

Cornish Lithium

Cornish Lithium is using modern exploration techniques and digital technology to re-evaluate Cornwall’s mineral potential in the light of the battery revolution. Cornwall has a world-class mineral endowment but has stood idle for decades. The battery revolution provides the impetus and opportunity to explore for raw materials that are vital to modern technologies. Cornish Lithium believes that the extraction of lithium, in combination with geothermal energy, has the potential to rejuvenate the economy of Cornwall and to provide much needed high-value employment across the county. The Company is primarily focussed on extracting lithium from known occurrences in brine and in hard-rock. Cornish Lithium is also evaluating the potential in Cornwall for other metals, particularly those that are vital to modern technologies such as electric vehicles and power storage batteries.

Further Exploration

Rags to Riches

Cornish Caretakers

Perthi Kov

UNESCO Lates at the London Science Museum