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Mine Exploration Forum

Author Purbeck ball clay mining
derrickman

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Purbeck ball clay mining
Posted: 02/10/2010 09:52:46
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[web link]

I remember hearing of this when I was at CSM and I note that underground mining continued to 1999 - anyone know anything about it?
IP: 93.190.187.150
Dolcoathguy

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Joined: 21/05/2008
Location: Camborne, Cornwall

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Purbeck ball clay mining
Posted: 02/10/2010 16:50:35
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Extract from Imerys site
Wareham, Dorset, UK

Main Activity: Ball clay production

Main market(s): Tiles & Refractories

All activities are ISO 9001:2000 certified and ISO 14000 registered.

Dorset Ball Clays have five pits, Trigon, Doreys, Povington, Hawk Post and Furzeyground and a processing plant situated at Furzebrook near Wareham. Ball Clays from these operations have been used within the British Isles since the 17th century for local and UK-wide ceramic use but since the beginning of the 19th century they have predominately been exported to countries throughout Europe. The clays are now sold throughout the world primarily to tiles and refractory manufacturers because of their unique physical properties.

The operations processing plant at Furzebrook shreds, blends the clays from the pits which is sold in bulk or bagged formed. We can also further process the clays through a mill to produce a range of refractory and tile products. With the support of the on site laboratory facilities this range of clays can meet all the needs of our customers



Not being in the Ball Clays division I can email the manager on Monday if no-one else can confirm when underground mining ceased.


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derrickman

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Purbeck ball clay mining
Posted: 02/10/2010 19:06:11
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Purbeck museum site seems clear enough that No 7 mine was the last, operating from 1990 - 1999

production seems to be current from several open pits, at least at the last website update date - which appears to be 2008

I was more interested in how the underground mining actually operated. It seems that drifts were driven using colliery arches and full timber laggings; drifts don't seem to be sufficiently large for any machinery larger than a Brokk and the use of small v-skips suggests hand-loading. The arch-and-lagging construction for the drifts suggests that the clay would swell significantly on exposure to air and stress relief from mining activities - so what would the actual extraction face look like?
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derrickman

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Purbeck ball clay mining
Posted: 03/10/2010 16:39:04
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1950s brochure

[web link]
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Tamarmole

Joined: 20/05/2009
Location: Tamar Valley

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Purbeck ball clay mining
Posted: 08/10/2010 18:11:20
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I was mooching around the Purbecks in the early 90s.

Steel arching and timber laggging were the order of the day.

Shovel tipped air picks were used for cutting clay.

At the time my particular interest was the rail systems (the mining being ancillary). Mines like Norden No 7, Aldermoor and Greenspecks all used 22" gauge tramways. V skips weren't in use. ECC used a standard wooden wagon with a hinged end. The nerd in me recalls that they had Rowbothams patent self oiling axle boxes. The wagons were hauled out of the mines onto the tipping docks in rakes of four or five wagons. At the incline head were a series of skid plates which allowed the wagons to be tipped directly into lorries. In addition to the clay wagons there were also a numberof slightly smaller timberwagons with open ends (I used to have one until someone nicked it).
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derrickman

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Purbeck ball clay mining
Posted: 08/10/2010 21:17:37
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the only images I can find are of miners in an arch-and-lagging face with clay spades... did they simply drive headings through the clay deposits? Seems a very restrictive way of working; I can't picture how this could have worked. I know pillar-and-stall, I know Cornish-style stoping and the South African 'flat' stoping; I know longwall coal-shearing and I know open-pit woeking. But I can't picture what was done here. IP: 93.190.187.150
Imageo

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Joined: 03/05/2009
Location: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

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Purbeck ball clay mining
Posted: 04/11/2010 06:00:43
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A colleague has sent me a newspaper cutting relating to this site. It's also currently available online but for how long. I'll also post the document

[web link]

All the best

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Peter Burgess

Joined: 01/07/2008
Location: Merstham. Or is it Godstone ...... ?

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Purbeck ball clay mining
Posted: 04/11/2010 10:28:13
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That article refers the the even more unusual oil shale mine at Kimmeridge in the Jurassic beds, and not to the ball clay mines near Corfe.

Here is a very detailed account of the Kimmeridge oil shales.

[web link]

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Hé ! Ki kapcsolva le a villanyt ?
IP: 81.144.191.248 Edited: 04/11/2010 11:12:41 by Peter Burgess
JohnnearCfon

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Purbeck ball clay mining
Posted: 04/11/2010 13:35:51
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Presumably this is the wagon in question?

[web link]

The rails appear to be a mixture of flat bottom and bridge rail. Some could even be the remains of a point?
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Dorsetboy

Joined: 21/05/2008

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Purbeck ball clay mining
Posted: 23/11/2010 08:14:04
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All answers to your questions can be found on the Purbeck Mineral & Mining Musem website. www.pmmmg.org

The underground tubs do not have axle boxes.

Take a look at the bottom of the website home page where there is a revision box and click on "Mine tunnel Progress pictures added" and you will see one type of tunnel construction. The other main type was using pit props. We hope to create a short section of this type of construction in our simulated mine.

Original clay mine tunnels collapse as the wood rots, so there is no chance of exploring underground.
IP: 212.139.102.175
JohnnearCfon

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Purbeck ball clay mining
Posted: 23/11/2010 20:54:01
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[web link]

Big Grin
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Dolcoathguy

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Purbeck ball clay mining
Posted: 24/11/2010 07:40:41
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Sounds like it is worth a visit !
-I wonder if they have contacted Wheal Martyn Museum for any material / items relevent to Ball clays?

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Dorsetboy

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Purbeck ball clay mining
Posted: 24/11/2010 08:01:21
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Wheal Martyn Museum is all about China Clay which is a residue clay and not a transported clay like Ball Clay. The clays are used for different purposes.

As far as I am aware, all china clay in Cornwall was quarried. Ball clay has been underground mined in Dorset and Devon as well as been quarried.

At present there is something like 1M tons per year extracted by quarrying in UK with 80% going for export.
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Dolcoathguy

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Purbeck ball clay mining
Posted: 24/11/2010 08:32:36
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I believe Wheal Martyn got given material from ECC / imerys -ie historical documents / old equipment.
Some of this may relate to the Dorset ball Clay operation.
Maybe might be worth them asking, especially if it is stored and not on display.


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Dorsetboy

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Purbeck ball clay mining
Posted: 24/11/2010 10:18:14
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Thanks, I will ask.

Here is a picture underground in Purbeck

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Tamarmole

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Location: Tamar Valley

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Purbeck ball clay mining
Posted: 24/11/2010 13:48:02
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Dorsetboy wrote:

The underground tubs do not have axle boxes.



Whilst "Purbeck tubs" did not have a coventional outside axle box the Rowbothomas is actually integral to the wheel/ axle assembly - perhaps a betterterm would be self oiling bearing.
IP: 86.155.93.95 Edited: 24/11/2010 13:48:56 by Tamarmole
Dorsetboy

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Purbeck ball clay mining
Posted: 24/11/2013 08:26:13
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The last clay obtained from an underground mine in Purbeck was from Aldermoor Mine. No.7 mine was open but was recovering from a flood. They were both decomissioned about the same time as Imerys decided to stop all further mining activities.

The steel arches from entrance of Aldermoor can be seen in the Mining Museum at Norden. They have been recoved and erected to provide a shelter and a seat on the entrance path to the museum.
Smartass
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rikj

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Purbeck ball clay mining
Posted: 24/11/2013 11:11:57
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Small description of the more modern mining techniques used, here:

http://www.clayheritage.org/pages/TheProductionandPropertiesofDevonBallclays.htm

Worth having a browse of the whole site as well Smile



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