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Mine Exploration Forum

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Author Great Flat Lode
carnkie

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Location: camborne, cornwall

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Great Flat Lode
Posted: 21/06/2009 11:27:28
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The fine photo by Sparty "Great Flat Lode" has reminded me


(click image to open full size image in new window)

Of something that has always made me wonder, why wasn't the Flat Lode discovered earlier or was it but took a back seat to the concentration on the huge copper output prior to 1870? No doubt I'm missing something obvious.

About 1870 the FL was discovered at West Wheal Basset at about the 130f level midway between Grenville and Thomas' shafts. At this point the FL is about 600 feet below sea level. Due to the orientation of the lode the further north you go it is nearer the surface. For example at Uny it's at sea level and South Carn Brea at the surface. So even during the copper boom tin could have been mined from the lode in the mines sitting to the north. I appreciate that for many of the mines the copper overlay the Fl and it was only with the collapse of the copper market in 1866 that efforts returned to tin.


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The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.
IP: 79.74.217.192
derrickman

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Great Flat Lode
Posted: 21/06/2009 19:46:42
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is that Wheal Uny? is it accessible? IP: 92.2.218.132
stuey

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Great Flat Lode
Posted: 21/06/2009 21:06:15
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It looks like Wheal Uny.

Oddly enough, there is a fair bit of copper stain on the walls, which suggest copper secondaries.... I wonder if this is from traces above the lode, or whether the top of the lode carried copper. When I had a look at a couple of the pillars, there was no copper evident....unless there was chalcocite, which I didn't note either.

As far as the history of the mining on the GFL, I thought it was rather like a hand in form, if initial values were poor, it makes you wonder whether it took a rich bit to get the ball rolling.... The wide formation interests me, how there has been virtually no interest, not even from Crofty there.....

Uny is meant to be the only access on the GFL, but it isn't official access and there is stuff in the pipes (according to my info, about this).

I've found another few shafts to the GFL which seem open but several are deep and have dodgy collars, hence being scary propositions. We will get them done eventually.
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Roy Morton

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Location: Redruth Cornwall

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Great Flat Lode
Posted: 22/06/2009 03:08:50
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The pics are definately Uny, and just as a matter of historical interest, the 'footway' shaft was in fact a windlass (Horse Gin) shaft. The shaft changes angle at the bottom of the wooden ladder in the photo, and on the hangingwall side can be seen the grooves where the haulage ropes have cut into the rock, although not quite as spectacular as the ones I saw in Pressure Shaft on the Dolcoath deep adit in the 1990's. I'll see if I can find the slide and get a decent copy to post.
The Uny whim is shown on the OS 6" 1st Edition. Its difficult to say whether this access was open during the official working of the mine or if private Tributers worked it shortly after the closure.
South Crofty did consider Uny in a general drilling plan in the early 70's. I believe some cores were taken around Church Coombe and East Basset and rumour at the time was that a long drive from Robinsons was to be put out under the Carn Brea Mines to tap the GFL at Uny and continue into Wheal Basset proper. Just what the results of the drilling programme were I don't know, but folklore has it that the Basset Mines cut good lode that improved with depth and so chased it down to reap quick, rich rewards leaving the shallower stuff for leaner times and totally undeveloped. Uny didn't have much good stuff at shallow depths and so after witnessing the bonanza on their doorstep at Basset, went deeper themselves to get a cut of the riches. The Granite contact however was deeper than at Basset and the strain on their antiquated and poorly maintained equipment started to show. Constant breakages and a spate of filthy weather lost months of development due to flooding, and production in the upper levels of the mine barely paid costs. The contact was finally reached and values were better but not great. Unfortunately it was at this time that the mine, and the shareholders, could not sustain the strain on their finances and the lot was wound up in 1892.
It's a pity the mine was fraught with so many instances of 'bad luck', as Jack Trounson always held that the stuff was down there and that modern mining methods could make the task of getting it out much easier.
When renovation work started at Uny and they put the cage over Hind's Shaft, the amount of work that went into it sparked more speculative rumours that the shaft was being preserved/prepared for possible future development.
I for one would have loved to have seen the water level lowered in that area, and some exploratory work done on the lodes and outriders in the vicinity. It's a very interesting area geologicaly and mineralogicaly.

--

'Bid me discourse, I will enchant thine ear'
IP: 81.153.210.132 Edited: 23/06/2009 01:25:10 by Roy Morton
carnkie

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Great Flat Lode
Posted: 22/06/2009 09:02:00
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Thanks for those comments Roy. I went back and re-read Jack Trounsons detailed comments on Uny. Very interesting if somewhat complicated for my ageing mind. Interesting that Captain William James advocated sinking a new shaft at Copper Hill and that without the de-watering problems would have extended the Basset mines eastward.

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The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.
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stuey

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Great Flat Lode
Posted: 22/06/2009 09:07:36
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Was that not done in part by the deepening and firkyfoodling of Kistle's Shaft, Wheal Buller?

I gather there was a fair bit of work done, but it was too far east of the emanative centre.....
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derrickman

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Great Flat Lode
Posted: 22/06/2009 09:10:30
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I wasn't aware that any part of Wheal Uny was accessible.

I know the engine house but I suppose I never paid it any attention at the time, and it is ancient history now, I haven't been in Cornwall for years and have no foreseeable plans to return.

I'm also unclear about the comments regarding Crofty, the Great Flat Lode and the 'wide formation' referred to. Anyone clarify this?





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carnkie

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Great Flat Lode
Posted: 22/06/2009 09:58:07
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derrickman wrote:

I wasn't aware that any part of Wheal Uny was accessible.

I know the engine house but I suppose I never paid it any attention at the time, and it is ancient history now, I haven't been in Cornwall for years and have no foreseeable plans to return.

I'm also unclear about the comments regarding Crofty, the Great Flat Lode and the 'wide formation' referred to. Anyone clarify this?


I may well be wrong but I assume that the 'Wide formation' is the same that Trounson discusses. When drilling north of Grenville they discovered a large flat south dipping lode averaging about 37 degrees in dip and existing deep in the granite, almost mid-way between the GFL and the main load of Dolcoath, all three lodes having the same dip in depth. This became know as the 'Wide formation'.

--

The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.
IP: 79.74.203.45 Edited: 22/06/2009 09:59:37 by carnkie
derrickman

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Great Flat Lode
Posted: 22/06/2009 10:03:28
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and is this formation what the present workings at S Crofty are seeking to work? IP: 149.254.49.73
carnkie

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Great Flat Lode
Posted: 22/06/2009 10:16:24
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I'll pass on that if I may and leave that to those better qualified to answer. Just to add regarding the formation, Trounson considered that if (big if) the formation persisted to the east and lies north of the GFL throughout the Basset area, then the matter could be one of the greatest importance and should be investigated.

--

The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.
IP: 79.74.203.45
carnkie

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Great Flat Lode
Posted: 22/06/2009 11:02:52
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stuey wrote:

Was that not done in part by the deepening and firkyfoodling of Kistle's Shaft, Wheal Buller?

I gather there was a fair bit of work done, but it was too far east of the emanative centre.....


Trounson went underground at Buller several times in 1928-30 when the mine was partially unwatered and his words it was most uncongenial country for tin. Northwards, however........

--

The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.
IP: 79.74.229.172
derrickman

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Great Flat Lode
Posted: 22/06/2009 12:52:05
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digressing slighly, it's curious how two fora ( ME and aditnow ) with a considerable overlap between the membership and a basically similar theme, have such differing tones.

compare this thread with some of the ranting and name-calling about S Crofty on the 'other one'..

I'd be genuinely curious to know about Crofty, if only on the grounds that I do know the place a bit of old, and still earn a crust or two in the extractive industries. I don't suppose anyone's going to tell me anything profound, given the degree of obscurity which surrounds the plans of both sides.

Have to say, to a stray from up-country who spent several years in Camborne without succumbing over-much to its charms, anyone reading the little that is published could be excused a fair degree of cynicism on the grounds that it is in some part, a feud over which in-group gets to develop the site.

Mark Twain was actually speaking about the American West when he wrote that ' a western mine is a hole in the ground, owned by a liar', but unsuccessful developments driven by fraud, lack of information, over-ambitious applications of specialised technology or simple over-optimism are hardly unknown in mining, are they?


so.. Pendarves established that the Great Flat Lode doesn't significantly extend beyond the limits generally believed for it in the 19th Century. Am I correct in understanding that there are valid technical reasons for believing that a significant ore body exists between the Great Flat and Dolcoath lodes ?




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Great Flat Lode
Posted: 22/06/2009 13:28:16
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The wide formation is an intersting one, if it exists as is believed, I'm intrigued why no one as ever got to it.

Crofty are currently driving towards williams shaft at the 60fm level, with the diamond drill rig they have, if it exists they should be able to drill into the great flat lode from there, which would mean intersecting the "Wide formation". At present the decline is running between the Dolcoath North and South Lodes, Looking at what they are doing I would suggest they are intending to try and find the Dolcoath main lode at depth in Stray park. Interpreting the dip of the lode, Dolcoath Main should be between 400 and 600fms, whhich would explain why Dolcoath never hit payable ore there.

There is a lot of cloak and dagger around the mine, but I canb't agree with it being an argument over developing the land as the money spent on the mine to date would never be recouped by development.

As an example there was an argument about the course of the new road, the rda wanted it to run near the decline, crofty objected on grounds it cocks up the mines access and proposed a more Northerly route, basically through the old fine ore bins. That route is slap bang in the middle of the land set aside by both parties for non mining related development, hence reducing the value of the land further. The proposed Southerly route was unsuitable for any kind of non mining related development due to the shallow tincroft workings.

The final thing is the people behind the mine are not developers but miners, I just can't equate that the plan is for development not mining.
IP: 90.219.230.98
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Great Flat Lode
Posted: 22/06/2009 13:34:22
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This is from Nick Le Boutilliers Website (http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/geologyofcornwall/croftymen.htm): -

The mine was reopened in September 2001, by Baseresult Ltd, as New Cook's Kitchen Mine and is now officially unabandoned. A section of the workings above adit, on North Tincroft Lode, have (as of October 2003) been opened for tourist visits with access from the Tuckingmill Decline, though currently the tours have been suspended as mining operations are taking place in the immediate vicinity. In November 2007 a new company, Western United Mines (Baseresult 51%, Galena LLP 49%), was formed to finance further mining operations. At the present time (June 2009) work is concentrating around the decline with a crosscut (at the 10 fathom level) driven north, which has intersected both Middle Engine Shaft and New Cook's Kitchen Shaft (for access & ventilation); and a 1.6 km exploration drive being driven south and west to parallel Dolcoath Main Lode. The drive has passed through The Great Crosscourse after being driven through some very challenging ground conditions (a collapse of ground at the intersection with some old workings ran through to surface and had to be plugged with concrete); it is is now being ramped down below the water table, with a third re-mucking point to be mined soon. The drive is now beneath the eastern end of Dolcoath Road in Camborne and progressing westwards. Shortly a turnout for a new level (the 60 fathom level) will be mined and the new level will run back, through Dolcoath Main Lode, to Williams Shaft, where a new pumping station will be situated. Diamond drilling has begun: a short hole to the south intersected a stope on Chapple's Lode (Cook's Kitchen Mine) and a long hole is currently being drilled north to potentially intersect Silver Lode and North Entral Lode (Dolcoath) before passing into the Roskear setts. WUM plan to explore the ground between Dolcoath and the Roskear mines to the north while also exploring Dolcoath Mine, which may be more economically viable than the main South Crofty Mine itself. The mine has taken delivery of a new DIAMEC diamond drill which has been evaluated on targets identified close to New Cook's Kitchen Shaft. Although flooded to a point at the head of the current workings (~300 feet below surface) WUM intend to restart working the mine and currently expect to resume tin production in early 2010. New offices have been commissioned in the dry and this building is now in use again after a gap of 10 years.
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carnkie

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Great Flat Lode
Posted: 22/06/2009 13:52:47
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derrickman wrote:


so.. Pendarves established that the Great Flat Lode doesn't significantly extend beyond the limits generally believed for it in the 19th Century. Am I correct in understanding that there are valid technical reasons for believing that a significant ore body exists between the Great Flat and Dolcoath lodes ?


I think the operative word there is significant. Back to Trounson. He points out that there were 7 intersections of the 'Wide formation' varying from 600-1800ft vertically from surface although some of the holes, drilled at an angle, were over 2000ft in length. The width of the lode in these intersections varied from 5ft 8in. to 34ft 11in and averaged 17ft 4in. At everyone of the interdections the lode contained tin but the values were low and the average was sub-economic. He goes on to say far more drilling will need to be done before it's possible to assess the prospects fairly in this new discovery.

Unless more widespread drilling has been carried out subsequently, and I certainly don't pretend to be that knowledgeable in these matters, I would have to say it seems unlikely that there are valid technical reasons for believing a significant body exists. As an experienced geologist, with considerable knowledge of mining in Cornwall remarked to Trounson, in his experience when a major lode has been intersected in the county the question that should be asked is not 'is it payable?' but 'where is it payable?'.

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stuey

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Great Flat Lode
Posted: 22/06/2009 14:17:14
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.....which was the one of the points about the GFL. It was rubbish in places but rich in others. Like a big hand.

The WF has only been pricked a few times. There is only one way to find out though.

Good to hear Crofty making progress. I have wondered about Dolcoath Main lode and what remains and if it has run together significantly. I gather a lot of the shaft pillars were removed towards the end of the mine. That may account for the lack of open, or recently open shafts and the account that it is impossible to get to Dolcoath up it's adit. (Said an old miner we bumped into whilst fishing)
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derrickman

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Great Flat Lode
Posted: 22/06/2009 14:39:49
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which all fits together.

I worked with Foraky for a while in the beginning of the 80s, they had done a deal of work on reclaiming old adits around the Crofty area in the late 60s / early 70s. An attempt was made to access Dolcoath via adit, with no success.

There was quite a lot of information on this in the archives but it was all pulped following the closure of the mining department prior to the management buy-out in the mid-80s.

I would easily believe that the Wide Formation is present in the same intermittent form as the Great Flat Lode to the West; ie there but not sufficiently regular to be workable



I can't see how the development of 30 acres would pay for the extent of underground works carried out to date. I'd certainly like to believe that underground mining is being revived again in Cornwall, but then again I'm sufficiently far away to afford the luxury of being completely wrong



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Great Flat Lode
Posted: 22/06/2009 17:41:05
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I'm learning a lot here about "the wide formation" my knowledge of it is extremely limited.

One thing to consider though is a wide low grade ore body suits the plant that crofty are introducing and would explain the reasoning behind a 2MT processing plant, the rules on payable in Cornwall are being rewritten.

The Reasoning behind heading for Dolcoath main in Stray Park is because it was never found to be mined in the past, all the records though suggest they were trying to find it at too shallow a depth (Approximately 150fm too shallow).

The main target though appears to be the vast swathe of land between Dolcoath and the Roskears, which to date have never been touched.

Another interesting point is that tin prices are actually as good as they were 12 months ago in Sterling and have in fact remained pretty static in a £2,000 per tonne range band, between £10,000 and £12,000 and currently in the middle of that band. Most people fail to realise this, looking at the price of $25,000 12 months ago and $15,000 today.
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derrickman

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Great Flat Lode
Posted: 22/06/2009 17:54:59
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it's difficult, because there is so little actual information available from either side.

Wheal Jane were always going to do great things with new mill gear and latest technology and it didn't really work out. Then again, that's a different case because of the complexity of the ores.

anyway good luck to anyone who is trying to do a real job with real wages and real production.

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Great Flat Lode
Posted: 22/06/2009 18:12:25
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Wheal Janes history was pretty chequered, the charter days were a disaster mainly down to the mining methods employed. RTZ got it working great and then the price crashed, and then they spent years ripping out their best ore at a loss!

With the current plans for Crofty, short of a major deposit o replace San Rafael being discovered somewhere in the world, the future looks good.
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