Carn Camborne Mine, Cornwall
Camborne: grid reference SW656393
Notable minerals: Arsenopyrite.
Carn Camborne Mine sett lies on the crest of Beacon Hill just southeast of Camborne and its chimney was for many years an important landmark visible from land and sea. Its engine house had a castellated chimney with a square cross-section. Unfortunately for mining historians, the stack was dynamited in 1972 to make way for a housing estate .... aah! progress...
Its sett is thought to have been made up from a little of each of its nearest neighbours - Camborne Vean, Stray Park and Wheal Francis. Carn Camborne was leased from the two main Mineral Lords of this area, Messrs. Vyvyan and Basset and included the ancient mines of Heart's Ease and Wheal Holt - known to have been at work prior to 1737. There were two chief lodes: North Lode and South Lode worked from Engine Shaft, Western Shaft, Eastern Shaft, Masterman's Shaft and Rothschild's Shaft. The original workings closed down some time after 1767 and were re-opened as Carn Camborne by Captain Andrew Vivian in 1814.
Little further development took place at Carn Camborne until 1859. A brief flurry of activity saw the construction of surface buildings and work started on Masterman's and Rothschild's Shafts. The following year however work stopped again. In mid 1861, Engine Shaft as well as an adit shaft were being restored and cleared. At surface, ore dressing floors were being planned. The new company offering 6,000 shares in the mine to investors.
In mid 1863, construction of the engine house began, being completed and set to work on 5th December 1863. It housed a combined 22-inch pumping engine and crushing engine. The following year work began on the sinking of a new shaft to be called Western Shaft. Development continued through the 1860's but the quality of the copper ore was poor and returns not so good.
Thomas Spargo states in his book The Mines of Cornwall (1865) that Carn Camborne was ' ... In 6,000 shares. Secretary, Mr. John Harding, Salisbury. Purser and Manager, Captain James Seccombe, Menheniot. Landowners, Sir R. R. Vyvyan, Bart., and J. F. Basset, Esq. Dues, l-15th. Depth of adit, 25 fathoms; depth below adit, 46 fathoms, and now sinking. Steam engine — pumping, winding, and crushing, 22-inch. Persons employed, 64 men, 15 females, and 4 boys. Rocks, granite and slate, with elvan course.
Mineral Sold In 1864 was 190 tons 16cwt. 3qrs. 1 Lb. for £814 6/- 4d.
The late Captain Andrew Vivian broke the surface about 50 years ago. The present Company took possession about 3 years ago. The stack of the engine is built to stand as an ornament of the hill, and a beacon for mariners; its height is about 70 feet, square, and castellated. The engine-house is also castellated; this, also, is destined to stand after the abandonment of the mine. Both most substantially built. The returns have been gradually increasing, from which I infer that the mine will take its stand amongst the dividend mines at no distant period.'.
In the winter of 1873-74, ore prices crashed as large reserves were discovered in Australia. This was to sound the 'death knell' for the owners and they sold up. Carn Camborne was purchased by a new group and worked on into the 1880's, reopening as 'Carn Camborne Tin and Copper Mining Co. Ltd.'. The new owners managed the mine on the 'Cost Book' method of accounting. Although the mine continued working it struggled financially and with ingress of water on its lower levels. The decision was taken to abandon the mine in 1884. A brief attempt was made to open the mine once more in 1887, but this came to nothing. The sett of Carn Camborne was absorbed by Dolcoath in 1898.
For more information on Carn Camborne and its neighbouring mines please purchase a copy of the excellent Cornwall's Central Mines: The Southern District by T. A. Morrison.
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Other nearby mines and their main ores
Camborne Vean (approx. 0.4 km; COPPER 1845-85 & TIN 1857-84)
South Tolcarne (approx. 0.5 km; COPPER)
Pendarves United (approx. 0.5 km; COPPER & TIN)
Great Condurrow (approx. 0.7 km)
South Condurrow (approx. 1.1 km; TIN & COPPER)
Grenville United (approx. 1.3 km; COPPER & TIN)
Dolcoath (approx. 1.3 km; COPPER, TIN, ARSENIC & MISPICKEL)
South Roskear (approx. 1.6 km; COPPER, TIN & ARSENIC)
Stray Park (approx. 1.6 km; TIN & COPPER)
Cook’s Kitchen (approx. 1.7 km; COPPER, TIN & ARSENIC)