Oxford Sigma and Cornwall Resources have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on enabling raw tungsten supply for commercial fusion energy. The MOU outlines how the two parties will collaborate to explore, develop, promote, and secure critical mineral supply pathways for tungsten to supply the fusion industry.
Fusion energy requires the use of tungsten for its high melting temperature, low plasma sputtering yield, and high thermal conductivity as part of the plasma-facing walls of a power station. In addition, tungsten possesses substantial radiation shielding properties that enable highly dense, efficient shielding components. The estimated requirements of tungsten materials for fusion power stations are between 100 – 5,000 tonnes per reactor (highly design dependent), with a requirement to renew tungsten components on a regular timeline further strengthening potential demand.
Currently over 90% of global tungsten supply is produced by China (84%), Vietnam (5.7%) and Russia (2.7%). It is imperative for the security of supply of this critical material that long-term alternative supplies are established.
Fusion energy is potentially a near-limitless source of carbon-free energy for the future, and tungsten will be a key component in the process, required for dense, highly efficient radiation shielding and plasma-facing components within fusion energy devices.
Fusion energy is actively being developed to reach commercialisation with over US $6.2 billion of private investment worldwide (as of August 2023). However, without a viable commercial pathway for the supply of tungsten from raw materials to the fusion community, the commercialisation of fusion energy could face significant delays. Oxford Sigma is developing materials solutions for components such as plasma-facing based on tungsten materials.
“Following on from other recent MOUs in tungsten supply, Oxford Sigma have entered into a key collaboration agreement with Cornwall Resources Limited. This is a natural fit to further strengthen our approach to securing long-term tungsten supply for the fusion power industry. Commercial fusion power stations are expected to become the ultimate domestic energy source, providing our clean power needs for generations. To make fusion sustainable, we must address the need of securing the supply of critical minerals, such as tungsten, and the projects that will produce them. Most of the technology that Oxford Sigma develops for fusion energy depend on large quantities of raw tungsten for various applications (radiation shielding and plasma-facing components). By collaborating with Cornwall Resources, Oxford Sigma continues to grow a network of world class projects, in safe jurisdictions, aiming to establish the supply of tungsten, ensuring a secure sustainable tungsten supply for the world’s fusion reactors of the future. We look forward to working with CRL, and our other partners, in connecting and building relationships with the fusion community.”~ Dr Thomas Davis, CTO of Oxford Sigma
“We are pleased to be working with the Oxford Sigma team who have a deep understanding of the fusion energy industry within the United Kingdom and abroad. Oxford Sigma are working to develop a long-term supply chain approach to sourcing tungsten for this key developing future technology. This agreement highlights the high grade, JORC compliant, tungsten resource at Redmoor. We believe Redmoor to be a world class deposit that has the potential to contribute towards the large quantities of tungsten necessary to advance the UK’s ambition to advance nuclear fusion technology into commercial production in the coming decades. By working with Oxford Sigma, we intend to further highlight to national government the importance of establishing domestic tungsten mining to provide long-term security of supply for the fusion community, and Redmoor’s ability to help meet these needs.”
~ Peter Wale, Executive Director of Strategic Minerals and Director of CRL
About Oxford Sigma
Oxford Sigma is a Fusion Technology company with a vision to tackle energy security and climate change by accelerating the commercialisation of fusion energy. Our mission is to deliver materials technology, materials solutions, and fusion design services. Oxford Sigma aims to produce advanced materials technologies, agnostic to fusion approach, for the materials ecosystem. Our fusion core materials are engineered to enable longer term operations for fusion pilot plants, with the aim of roll out to the first-of-a-kind commercial power stations. Oxford Sigma is internationally recognised as a key fusion materials and technological leader. The company operates in the United States, United Kingdom, European Union, Canada, and Japan, with offices in the UK and USA. Our roots and headquarters are in Oxford, UK.
Get in touch at [email protected]
About Cornwall Resources Limited
Cornwall Resources Limited (“CRL”) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Strategic Minerals Limited (“SML”) (AIM: SML; USOTC: SMCDY) focussed on advancing the high-grade, underground Redmoor Tungsten-Tin-Copper Project, through a current relogging and sampling campaign of historic drill core and continuing to progress towards securing further significant funding, as well as exploring its minerals rights licence area in east Cornwall, South West England.
The Redmoor Project is situated within the historically significant Tamar Valley Mining District, yet the sheeted vein system (“SVS”) forming the basis of CRL’s inferred resource is unmined. SML bought into CRL in 2016, and in 2019 completed the purchase of the project. CRL completed a JORC-compliant Inferred Mineral Resource Estimate (“MRE”) for Redmoor using a comprehensive archive of historical data and through the completion of two exploration campaigns, in 2017 and 2018, totalling 32 boreholes for 14,000m of drilling. An updated Scoping Study, published in 2020 shows that Redmoor has potentially economic viability as a new, underground mine.