The CMA clusters 90 mining-related businesses/organisations in Cornwall and facilitates contact for export, innovation, business expansion and networking.
There was no obvious point of contact or hub for the many small businesses related to mining in Cornwall so it was difficult to reach the businesses with information on for example, innovation or export opportunities, and time consuming to facilitate networking opportunities. Cornwall is famous as a UNESCO World Heritage mining site but the contemporary mining sector was not as well recognised.
The Cornwall Mining Alliance provides a single contact for information that can be distributed to all members quickly and effectively, and a single ‘shop window’ for anyone worldwide to see businesses and sectors in Cornwall.
The networking activities encourage mining alliance members to work together, including making consortia to be able to tackle larger contracts.
The Alliance also enables the execution of projects such as Interreg Europe’s REMIX and H2020 MIREU by facilitating easy communication with the project stakeholders.
The main stakeholders and beneficiaries are all the mining-related businesses and organisations, including the University partners in the region, plus the UK Government Department for International Trade, local government (e.g. Cornwall Council and the Local Enterprise Partnership), other businesses and countries who wish to reach the mining, mining consultancy and mining equipment sectors in Cornwall.
£4000 from Cornish Chamber of Mines and Minerals and University of Exeter to set up website. Substantial in-kind contribution of time from steering group members, small amount administrative time from Wheal Jane Group and research support manager time from University of Exeter.
Evidence of success
Mining is now (January 2018) recognised by the Local Enterprise Partnership as one of the ten important areas for future business development in Cornwall.
The Alliance launched in October 2016 with about 70 members and this has grown to 90 in February 2018.
Some of the smaller consultancies have won a collaborative contract as a result of the Alliance.
There has been more interaction between the local university and the business sector – e.g. attending research seminars.
The main challenge, that is not yet solved, is how to find money to pay staff to take the Alliance to the next level from networking to actively promoting and seeking business opportunities for Alliance members.
Potential for learning or transfer
The practice should be easy to transfer to other regions. It requires that some structure exists such as a chamber of mines or business and a university but then with in-kind staff time, the amount of money to set up the website and communications and thus the group is small, of the order of 5000 Euros.