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The Metaliferrous Mining Region of South West England - Volume 1

H.G.Dines (1956)

ST. ERTH

This area is a belt about 2 miles wide bordering the east side of Hayle or St. Erth River from a quarter of a mile S. of St. Erth to the estuary at Hayle and thence following the coast north eastwards to 3 miles beyond Gwithian.

The country rocks are mainly killas with some greenstones east of St. Erth, where elvan dykes also occur, trending E.N.E. The mines were essentially copper producers the chief being the group known as Alfred Consols or Great Wheal Alfred, with a recorded production approaching 160,000 tons of concentrates . Small amounts of zinc and lead ores have been raised at many of the mines, and also a little silver. Tin is recorded from only three of the mines and outputs are insignificant, the largest, 80 tons of black tin, having come from Mellanear. Records of the nature of the lodes and of details of mineral associations are lacking. Many of the mines had commenced before the 19th century, most had ceased operations soon after the 185O’s and all finished before the present Century.

The others, known as Fluccan and Old Whim Shaft lodes, are both proved beyond the western end of the workings on Main Lode.

The distances between the various shafts as shown on the longitudinal section of Main Lode, do not agree exactly with those on the plan (dated 1855), and the section shows a horizontal surface throughout the length of the development, whereas the western shafts are on the alluvial tracts of St. Erth River (13 ft. O.D.) while the eastern ones, on the valley side, are on ground rising above the 50ft. contour. Levels are named according to their depths vertically below surface but the longitudinal section is drawn in the plane of the lode, the bottom (55 fm.) level being about 70 fms. below surface as measured down the underlay.

The shafts on Main Lode are Leman's, on the west side of the alluvial tract, 250 yds. S. by W. of the railway bridge over St. Erth River, vertical to the 37 fm. Level; Mexico, on the eastern margin of the alluvium, 250 yds. S.E. of the bridge, vertical to the 55 fm. Level and passing through the lode between that and the 45 fm. Level; Footway, TO yds. S.S.E. of Mexico, at crooked incline to the 30 fm. Level; Carr’s Engine, 87 yds. E. by N. of Mexico, at vertical shaft shown on the longitudinal section to the 55 fm. Level and on the plan to pass just north of that level but with no crosscuts south to the load; Old Engine, 93 yds. E. by S. of Mexico, vertical to just below the 37 fm. Level, and Goddard’s, 108 yds. E. of Old Engine, vertical to the 37 fm. Level. The shallowest drive is the ll fm. Level which extends 16 fms. E. from Footway Shaft, and the next, the 23 fm. which extends 85 fms. E. from Old Engine Shaft. Apart from these, the plans show no development above the 30 fin. Level; this opens up the lode for 27 fms. E. and 140 fms. W, of the crosscut 18 fms. S. from Mexico Shaft. It is, however, in two parts separated by about 8 fms., the last 60 fms. at the western end being from a rise from the western end of the 37 fm. Level. The 37 fm. is the longest drive, extending 217 fms. E. and 82 fms. W. of the crosscut ll fms. S. from Mexico Shaft. The 45 fm. Level extends for 156 fms. E. and 26 fms. W. of Mexico Shaft and the 55 fm. for 116 fms. E. and l0 fms. W. The largest block of stoping is from just below the ll fm. Level to the 45 fm. extending 40 fms. E. and 30 fms. W. of Mexico Shaft. There are small stopes above the 30 fm. Level at Leman's Shaft, above the 45 fm. Level just east of Old Engine Shaft and above the 55 fm. Level 40 fms. E. of Mexico Shaft.

North Part Lode is developed from crosscuts north from Main Lode workings. The ll fm. Level near Footway Shaft, 7 fms. N. of the drive on Main Lode, is 20 fms. long, the 30 fm. Level is driven for 52 fms. E. from Footway Shaft and for 5 fms. E. and 15 fms. W. of the crosscut from Mexico Shaft; there is a short drive on the 55 fm. Level just north of Mexico Shaft, where North Part lies 4 fms. N. of Main Lode; the amount of stoping is not known.

Of the other two lodes Fluccan Lode was opened up from Coles Engine Shaft, 8O yds. W. by N. of Leman’s Sltaft. At a depth of 40 fms. a crosscut 20 fms. S.S.E. intersects the lode, coursing E. 10 degrees N, at 4 fms., but the drives are short. The crosscut passes through the position of Main Lode 10 fms. W. of the western end of the 30 fm. Level but there is no development from it.

The other lode was developed to a small extent from Old Whim Shaft, 66 yds. W.S.W. of Leman's Shaft, vertical to a depth of 14 fms. At 10 fms. depth a crosscut 25 fms. S.E. passes through the lode, coursing about N.E. and underlying north, at 10 fms.; the lode has been opened up for 5 fms. N.E. and 10 fms. S.W. of the crosscut. At 14 fms. depth a crosscut 5 fms. S. meets the lode which has thence been followed for 20 fms. N.E.

The output from 1815 to I854 is recorded as 4,325 tons of 7 per cent copper ore.

Mellanear - 3/4 mile N.E. by N. of St. Erth. l-in. geol. 351, 358; 6 in. Corn. 69 N.W.; A.M. R 54 and 2374. Country: killas traversed by an elven dyke.

Main Lode, which courses E. 15° N. on the west and I3.E.W. on the east and underlies 28° N., is the eastward extension of Main Lode of West Wheal Alfred; it has been developed for a distance of nearly 400 fms., to a depth of 150 fms. below adit (13 fms.); North Lode, coursing E. 25° N. and underlying 18° N., 60 fms. N. of Main Lode, has been opened up to a small extent in the east of the property. The blue grey killas country is traversed by an elvan dyke which strikes nearly parallel to Main Lode, crops out 200 yds. S. of it and, with a flat northerly dip, is intersected by the lode about 100 fms. below surface.

The shafts on Main Lode are Gundry's, 300 yds. N.F. of Trelissick, vertical to the 100 fm. Level and on the underlie to the 150 fm.; Skip, 320 yds. E. by S. of Gundry's, vertical to Adit Level and on the underlie to the 100 fm.; Mellanear or Engine, 60 yds. N.E. of Skip (and 100 yds. N. of Mellanear cottages), vertical to the 50 fm. Level and on the underlie to the 110 fm., and Garden or Old Engine, 55 yds. S.E. of Mellanear, vertical to the 40 fm. Level. Levels above the 100 fm. are mainly driven from crosscuts south-south-east from Gundry’s Shaft. From the 30 fm. to the 70 fm. levels the lode splits westward at 10 fms. to 20 fms. W. of the Gundry‘s Shaft crosscuts but the two branches reunite 30 to 50 fms. or more farther west; their maximum distance apart is 7 fms.

Awarding to the section, depths of levels at Gundry’s Shaft are below surface while at Skip, Engine and Garden shafts they are below adit (12 fms), thus the 50 fm. Level on the east becomes the 60 fm. Level on the west. Adit Level extends 100 fms. W. and 1l2 fms. E. of Skip Shaft only; it is crooked and off the lode in places. From Garden Shaft the 12 fm. and 20 fm. levels extend about 20 fms. E.; the lode here assumes a steep dip above the 30 fm. Level, In the east, the 30 fm. Level extends from 20 fms. E. of Garden Shaft to 63 fms. W. of Skip Shaft, a distance of 130 fms. and in the west, the 30 fm. Level from Gundry's Shaft extends 65 fms. W. The 40 fm. Level west from Gundry's Shaft (which corresponds in depth with the 30 fm. on the east) is 80 fms. long and divides to follow both branches of the lode for 30 fms. Th 50 fm. Level at Gundry's Shaft extends 50 fms. E. and 70 fms. W, the west drive follows both the two branches of the lode for the last 50 fms. but the drives do not reunite. The 50 fm. Level from Mellanear Shaft extends 160 fms. W. and there joins, by a short winze, the 60 fm. of Gundry's Shaft which continues to 136 fms. W. of Gundry's Shaft, a total distance of 330 fms. Below the last, all levels are named as from surface at Gundry's Shaft. The 70 fm., 80 fm., 90 fm., 100 fm. and 110 fm. levels block out the lode from Mellanear Shaft to 150 fms. W. of Gundry's, the I20 fm. Level extends 55 fms. W. and 70 fms. E. of Gundry's Shaft; the 130 fm. and 140 fm. levels are driven for 20 fms. W. and 50 fms. E. and the 150 fm. for 20 fms. E. Stoping is fairly uniformly spread over the whole of the developed ground from the 10 fm. Level to the 100 fm. Level and there are some small slopes on the levels below, to the 140 fm. at Gundry‘s Shaft; in all about 48 percent of the ground has been removed.

North Lode was opened up from North Shaft, 100 yds. N. by E. of Mellanear Shaft, vertical to about 20 fms. below adit. A crosscut 10 fms. S. meets the lode at Adit Level,which is driven 18 fms. W. and 20 fms. E. (to drainage adit), and a winze, beginning 3 fms. E. of the crosscut meets the shaft at depth; from it the 12 fms. Level is driven 8 fms. each way.

Drainage adit, with an air shaft on it 60 yds. N. by E. of Garden Shaft, connects with the eastern end of Adit Level on North Lode at 68 fms. N. of Garden Shaft; thence, as shown on plan R 90 A of West Alfred Consols, it continues 68 fms. N. to its portal near the stream that flows north westwards to Hayle. A crosscut from the eastern end of Adit Level on Main Lode, 63 fms. E. of Garden Shaft, extends 12 fms. N.W. and 8 fms. S.E.; it intersects a N.W. lode 10 fms. N. of_Main Lode, on which there are short drives. There are three prospecting crosscuts, one driven 83 fms. S. from the 70 fm. Level on Main Lode, 80 fms. E. of Gundry's Shaft, the second 53 fms. N.N.W. from the 70 fm. Level, 48 fms. E. of Gundry's Shaft and the last, 83 fms. S.S.E. from the 30 fm. Level at Gundry's Shaft; all failed to prove further lodes.

The width and character of the lodes are not recorded; dumps contain quartz-chlorite veinstone with chalcopyrite, mispickel and pyrite and there are fine strings of pyrite traversing slaty country rock; blende and cassiterite are also present. The mine was an important copper producer and, according to Collins (1897 p.81), was second only to Devon Great Consols between 1879 and 1888. Outputs are - 1815, 1816 and 1866-88, 66,410 tons of 6 per cent copper ore and 80 tons of black tin. The mine also produced 1,400 tons of blende and 12 tons of pyrite. The largest annual output of copper ore was 6,747 tons. Work appears to have ceased about 1890.

West Alfred Consols. 1 1/4 miles N.E. of St. Erth. 1-in. geol. 351, 358; 6 in. Corn. 69 N.W.; AM. R 90 A. Formerly called Weal Ann. Country: killas traversed by elvan dykes.

Main Lode, coursing E. 28 degrees N., and underlying 22 degrees N., probably the eastward extension of Main Lode of Mellanear Mine, lies 260 yds. N. of the more or less parallel South Wheal Ann or South Lode. The killas country between them contains at north-dipping elvan dyke which trends about E. 40 degrees N. so that it approaches the position of Main Lode about Halankene, but there are no records of its elfect on the lode. A second elvan nearly parallel to the first, crops out about 80 yds. S. of South Lode.

Main Lode was worked from Phillip's or Flat Rod Shaft. 30 yds. W. of the stream and 285 yds. W.N.W. of Nineveh, vertical to the 55 fm. level and on the underlie to the 110 fm. (but the deepest drive is the 95 fm.); Old Engine or Old Sump Shaft, 17O yds. E.N.E. of Phillip's Shaft, vertical to the 40 fm. Level and on the underlie to the 65 fm.; Field's Engine Shaft, 130 yds. N.N.E. of Old Engine Shaft, vertical to the 85 fm. Level where it meets the lode, with crosscuts south to the lode above, and Footway Shaft, 107 yds. E. by N. of Old Engine Shaft, vertical to the 20 fm. Level, which it meets just west of the crosscut from Field's Engine Shaft.

The adit commences by the stream 30 yds. N. by E. of Phillip's Shaft and extends 80 fms. E. as a crosscut to meet the lode which it then follows for 417 fms. E.N.E., extending over 300 fms. beyond the limits of development at lower levels; it has nine air shafts, the most easterly of which is a quarter of a mile E.N.E. of Halankene. Adit Level is 5 fms. deep opposite Old Engine Shaft and 7 fms. deep at Field's Engine Shaft; Phillip's Shaft collar is at the same level as adit portal. The first level below adit is the 20 fm. which extends from 20 fms. W. of Old Engine Shaft to 50 fms. E. of Field's Engine Shaft, a total of 130 fms. The 30 fm. Level is driven for 25 fms. E. of Old Engine Shaft only, and the 36 fm. for 33 fms. W. of Phillip's Shaft only. The 40 fm. Level extends for 40 fms. W. and 50 fms. E. of Old Engine Shaft and the 50 fm. for 30 fms. W. The 55 fm., 65 fm. and 75 fm. levels block out the lode from about 100 fms. W. of Phi1lip's Shaft to 15 fms. E. of Field's Engine Shaft, a distance of about 250 fms. The 85 fm. Level extends for 85 fms. W. and 30 fms. E. of Phillip's Shaft and the 95-fm. for 20 fms. E.; there is also a drive 20 fms. long at the 95 fm. from the bottom of a winze below the 85 fm. at 65 fms. W. of Phillip's Shaft. Longitudinal section R 54 of Mellanear Mine includes Phillip's Shaft; this shows a drive 30 fms. W. and 18 fms. E. of the shaft at the 100 fm. Level. The longitudinal section of West Alfred Consols (dated 1862) is not quite complete and does not show the westward drives on the 55 fm., 65 fm. and 75 fm. levels so far west as on the plan though they are indicated on R 54 of Mellanear. Stoping is patchy and mainly confined between about 6 fms. above the 55 fm. Level and the 75 fm. Level, extending from 50 fms. W. of Phillip's Shaft to 50 fms. E. of Old Engine Shaft. There is a small stope above and below the 20 fm. Level to 30 fms. E. of Old Engine Shaft and others on the SS-fm. Level, 15 fms. E. of Phi1lip's Shaft and on the 95 fm. Level west of that shaft.

South or South Wheal Ann Lode was opened up from two shafts, one 260 yds. E. and another 160 yds. S.E. of Nineveh. The first is vertical to Adit Level, which is driven 90 fms. E., and the second on the underlie to the 20 fm. Level below adit. From the second shaft Adit Level extends for 5 fms. E. and 45 fms. W., the 14 fm. Level for 35 fms. E. and 18 fms. W. and the 20 fm. for 10 fms. W. From the west end of Adit Level there is a crosscut 110 fms. N.W., with four air shafts; according to the plan this crosscut ends within 15 fms. of Adit Level on Main Lode. The amount of stoping on South Lode is not known.

From the 85 fm. Level on Main Lode, at 45 fms. W. of Phillip's Shaft, a crosscut 16 fms. N. by W. proves no further lodes, but another, 12 fms. N.W. and 15 fms. S.E. from Adit Level at an air shaft 270 yds. N.E. of Halankene, seems to have cut two lodes in the south drive, but neither was developed.

Nothing is known concerning the character of the lodes. Minerals present are said to include mispickel, siderite, cerussite, calamine, native silver, argentite, cerargyrite and copper ores. Records of output are - Wheal Ann: 1815, 1816, 718 tons of copper ore. West Alfred Consols: 1852-65, 8,400 tons of 4 1/2 per cent copper ore, 3 1/2 tons of 58 per cent lead ore, 30 tons of zinc ore and 28 oz. of silver.