A COMPANY hoping to mine for tin along the Cornish coast is dismissing claims that it would have an adverse impact on the environment or threaten popular surfing spots and fishing.
Marine Minerals Ltd has submitted exploratory drilling plans in an area stretching from St Ives to Perranporth to extract tin from the seabed.
The first public consultations on the £15 million scheme, in conjunction with the Marine Management Organisation (MMO), ended on Friday.
It was responding to concerns raised by Surfers Against Sewage and Cornwall Wildlife Trust (CWT) who said they feared the drilling would disrupt premier surfing spots and threaten marine habitats and wildlife.
CWT said the drilling posed certain risks, including loss of habitat and species, disturbance of contaminated sediments and noise.
It also called for reassurances that the cumulative impact of Marine Minerals' application for a 21-year licence would be considered.
In a statement, Marine Minerals Ltd said: "Our method will not, unlike traditional dredging, extend over vast areas of the seabed in a short time because we will be simultaneously backfilling as we draw up the sand, while filtering out the tin on board.
"We will return almost all of the sand back to where it came from. Compared to the effect of storm waves on this coast, our impact will be insignificant."
Its operation, it said, would be no closer to the shore than 200m and there was no evidence to show that it would be detrimental to marine environment, wildlife or surfing.
It added: "If there are specific problems, in specific locations, or at specific times, we will investigate ways to avoid, minimise or mitigate them. Such plans will be made public and will be open to scrutiny."