A University for Cornwall could be built on the site of the country's last remaining tin mine, it has emerged.
South Crofty mine is one of several proposed sites before the steering group for the Combined University for Cornwall, made up principally of Falmouth College of Arts and Exeter and Plymouth universities.
Alan Livingston, principal of Falmouth College and convenor of CUC, said the plan was for a "distributed university" with a dual hub at existing sites in Falmouth and Camborne, where the Camborne School of Mines, part of Exeter University, is based.
Plans to base the campus in Penzance were rejected because the town is too far west.
He said the steering group - recently joined by the College of St Mark and St John in Devon, the Open University and four Cornish FE colleges - was waiting for the results of both an academic and a business plan before making any decision.
He said of South Crofty: "It's a site we would consider. But the most important thing is that there would be various groups proposing different sites so we have to be wary of over-committing ourselves."
The 44-acre site is privately owned but unused. It was recently valued at Pounds 600,000, although the cost of reclaiming the polluted land would run into millions.
The campaign for a university has also gained momentum from a major new report for Business in the Community, which flags up the county's desperate need for an academic centre of excellence. It says the curriculum should focus on business, environment, biotechnology and computer sciences.
Graham Russell, regional director of Business in the Community, said South Crofty was "pre-eminent" as a site for a new university because of its size.
The region is due to receive Objective One funding for deprived areas from Europe next year.
It is being seen as a major funding opportunity for the new university.