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Wheal Coates engine house

Background
The massive DVD set "'Mongst Mines and Mine Explorers" follows the members of the Shropshire Caving and Mining Club as they explore the incomparable mining remains still to be found, both above and below ground. Mainly recorded in 1993, it also features footage shot in 1983 and 1987 of sites that have since changed considerably.

Most of the underground tours were recorded with revolutionary new "Borg" video equipment developed by IAR, which gives the viewer the feeling that they are exploring the mine themselves.

The DVDs include an underground tour of South Crofty tin mine while it was still working.

South Crofty miners about to descend
Loco & ore wagons

The exhilerating descent of New Cook's Kitchen shaft to the '380 fathom' level, 695m (2280 ft) below adit level, is recorded in full.

Clayton battery electric locos haul Hudson tipping wagons full of ore towards an internal ore pass.

Having descended the 1:4 gradient first sub decline to visit the '400 fathom' workings, where ore is loaded from load drive drawpoints by rocker shovels, the party return to the bottom of New Cook's Kitchen shaft the easy way, by man-rider conveyor belt. Riding the conveyor
Entering Cligga Head mine Cligga Head cliffs are pock-marked with mine level entrances, ancient and modern. With proper training a correctly equipped group can explore these workings underground.
The levels eventually lead to vast stopes where the minerals have been removed over the centuries. Exploring a Cligga Head stope
Climbing over a roof fall Often roof falls block mine passages and the explorer has to resort to wriggling through small gaps and crawling over rock piles.
Modern mines are easier to negotiate, but safety procedures, such as keeping a tally of who is in the mine, must be followed. Checking tallies
Descending a ladder shaft A climbing shaft, fitted with fixed ladders makes a 30m descent easy compared with the bother of rigging ropes for abseiling and prussiking.
Material from an ore pass above is loaded into wagons running along the level via wooden chutes or 'boxes'. An ore chute 'box'
Cornish beam pumping engine Surface remains include several preserved beam engines. This example is not on display and it is now deteriorating due to the missing roof.
Ornate buildings housed dressing machinery which processed the veinstuff, removing unwanted material and concentrating the valuable ores. Wheal Basset dressing floor
Robinson's shaft, South Crofty One preserved beam pumping engine is at Robinson's shaft, part of South Crofty tin mine.
Despite thousands of years of mining, Cornwall is still rich in minerals and is a valuable resource for geologists. Geological sampling
Buddles Remains can be found in many places. These convex buddles were lying neglected behind a wall in Brea.
Geevor tin mine was still working in 1987 and a tour of the processing plant included ball mills, flotation cells and shaking tables. Shaking tables, Geevor mill
Wheal Coates at sunset

Cooks Shaft signals

 

With the closure of South Crofty, tin is no longer mined in Cornwall, but hard rock mining has always been subject to 'boom and bust' as speculators play with the metal prices, and one day it may revive.

 

The images on this page are taken from the video "'Mongst Mines and Mine Explorers".

 

Find out more about the Shropshire Caving and Mining Club on their web site: www.shropshirecmc.org.uk