Tungsten West and Oxford Sigma establish UK-based raw materials pathway for fusion energy supply

12 Jun 2023 | News

Oxford Sigma and Tungsten West Plc (“Tungsten West”) have signed a strategic collaboration to explore and establish critical supply pathway options enabling the use of the critical material, tungsten, for fusion energy deployment. Tungsten is a raw material necessary for the commercialisation of fusion power stations, and it is available right here in the United Kingdom. However, without a viable commercial pathway for the supply of tungsten from raw materials to the fusion community, the commercialisation of fusion energy faces significant delays and possible reliance on other sources of tungsten. The collaboration between Oxford Sigma and Tungsten West is a significant step in enabling the fusion community to access the necessary tonnage of tungsten necessary in the production of fusion energy.

Tungsten West is working towards restarting mining operations at its Hemerdon tungsten and tin mine, in Devon, United Kingdom. The mine hosts the second largest tungsten resource in the world. Tungsten is a key component required for radiation shielding and plasma-facing components within fusion energy devices. Fusion energy, a potential near-limitless source of carbon-free energy for the future, is actively being developed to reach commercialisation with over USD $5 billion of private investment around the world.  

Oxford Sigma is a fusion technology company, founded by fusion materials and engineering experts, that is developing fusion materials and fusion in-vessel components to ensure long-term, commercial performance, and safe operation of fusion power plants. Based in Oxfordshire, UK, the company’s team are world experts in fusion materials and fusion design, with access to experimental facilities to accelerate fusion power station technology.

The company has an established record of developing reliable tungsten-based radiation shielding and plasma-facing components for the fusion industry. The   strategic collaboration with Tungsten West is a perfect mutual combination of skills and assets in order to secure the source of this raw material right here in the UK with the goal of deploying these tungsten-based components in both the UK and abroad.


‘We are excited to enter into this collaboration agreement with Oxford Sigma which represents a significant step forward in advancing the development of sustainable and clean energy solutions. Tungsten is a key material required in fusion energy, essential in the lining of the reactor devices and, as we progress to production at Hemerdon, we are in a position to supply a domestic source of tungsten to the UK and abroad.

By leveraging our combined expertise and resources with Oxford Sigma, we proud to be at the forefront of, and are poised to unlock, the full potential of tungsten for fusion energy deployment, a potentially limitless carbon free energy source for the future.’

~ Neil Gawthorpe, CEO, Tungsten West PLC

Commercial fusion power stations are enroute to become the ultimate energy source. We are excited to partner with Tungsten West Plc to connect the UK fusion community with the raw materials necessary to make fusion work. Most of the approaches to fusion that Oxford Sigma develops depend on large quantities (tonnages levels) of raw tungsten for various applications (radiation shielding, plasma-facing components, and liquid metal resistance coatings). By collaborating with Tungsten West, the door is open to secure this critical material supply to ensure that the country, and the world, can deploy the fusion reactors of the future.

~ Dr Thomas Davis, CTO, Oxford Sigma

About Tungsten West

Tungsten West, headquartered in Plymouth, Devon, is focused on the responsible and sustainable restart of the Hemerdon tungsten and tin mine in Devon.  The Hemerdon mine is one of the world’s largest CRIRSCO compliant tungsten resources, hosting a Mineral Resource Estimate of 351.5 Mt at 0.12% WO3 and 0.03% Sn. The AIM listed company is focused on bringing value to its stakeholders and contributing to the domestic supply of critical metals. Tungsten West is committed to promoting STEM subjects and careers in the mining sector. 

About Oxford Sigma

Oxford Sigma tackles energy security and climate change by accelerating the commercialisation of fusion energy. Oxford Sigma’s mission is to deliver materials technology, materials solutions, and fusion design services in order to accelerate the commercialisation of fusion energy. Oxford Sigma is internationally recognised as a key fusion materials and technological leader within the market. The company operates in the United States, United Kingdom, European Union, Canada, and Japan.

Get in touch at [email protected]