This blog was first posted on November 2nd on Leap’s blog.

On Friday 26 October Leap was invited by RSA design directors Sophie Thomas and Nat Hunter to attend the first Great Recovery workshop, held at the Geevor Tin Mine in Pendeen.

The full day workshop started with a fascinating talk by Mike, ex-miner from Geevor, who has been working in mines all over the world since 1979. This was followed by a tour around and in the Geevor Tin Mine, all very impressive in its content. From rising and falling tin prices to surveying difficulties, the impact on workers, families and owners, the daily risks of working in such harsh conditions and much more. Despite my keen interest, being 1.83 meter tall doesn’t make me a natural born miner as I kept hitting my head in the dark. After the tour, the session lead into an examination of the nature of current supply chains, logistics, resource efficiency, waste, and business/technical challenges. Mark Shayler talked in a little more detail about the global supply chain of our electrical goods, and revealed that up to 64% of the world’s Coltan supplies are estimated to come from the Congo. After a provided lunch with Cornish pastries, the focus turned to products and analysis of process. We took apart a video camera. Inside this camera we discovered layers of plastic, metal and circuit boards, all made up of several types of metal, including copper, tin, cobalt and gold. Besides this, I was very intrigued by all the various sizes of springs that were inside the camera.

”Finding new ways to produce these necessary raw materials by questioning every stage of the process, finding fair mines or investing in their creation and recycling our existing raw materials. If we roll out this thinking beyond our devices, and apply it to all of our electronics, questioning where elements have come from and where they will go, we will be one step closer to a circular economy” – The Great Recovery.

It’s time that we all begin to question the products that we are consuming.

It was nice to meet everyone involved and thanks for such an inspiring day!


Photos by Nat Hunter/The Great Recovery