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East Carn Brea Mine, Cornwall

Principal ores: COPPER

Redruth: grid reference SW698411


Notable minerals: Chalcopyrite.

Location
The sett that was to become East Carn Brea sett was actually shared between Wheal Bucketts and Wheal Union to the north.

History
After Wheal Bucketts was abandoned in 1849, the management team that opened Wheal Union also decided to work the shared land as East Carn Brea. A lease was obtained and the mine came into being in February 1857. A combined pumping and winding engine was installed over an old shaft and set to work in early March. As soon as this shaft was dewatered the company set about reopening a further two shafts in the western section of the sett, as well as further developing Engine Shaft. The mine agent was T. Glanville, incidentally also manager at North Wheal Basset and South Carn Brea. He suggested that a new shaft should be sunk to the northwest to explore the ground there. A little tinstone was sold in 1857 but this was from old workings and mine dumps rather than from underground.

By 1859 copper ore was raised and sold to the value of £751 (124 tons at £6.056/ton). The following year copper ore production doubled to over 200 tons, whilst in 1861 over £5690 was made from selling 802 tons. 1861 also saw a great deal of investment as the mine developed, purchasing a new crusher as well as constructing dressing floors and a miners dry. Around this time the old 18-inch pumping and winding engine was replaced by a more powerful 40-inch engine.The investment reaped immediate rewards as ore production increased three-fold to over 2,400 tons in 1862. At £6.17/ton this was worth over £15,000 or over ten times the value of ore raised just two years earlier. Production remained above the 2,500 ton per year mark for the next five years. The best year's production taking place in 1865 when over 4,000 tons of copper ore were raised. The price of copper had fallen to just £4.467/ton and so rewards were not as high as they could have been. Dividends were returned to investors totalling £1500 at this time.

Another shaft was refurbished and deepened starting in May 1862 with a 70-inch pumping engine purchased later that year. The new engine was installed and working by February 1863 over New Engine (Eastern) Shaft. In 1864 yet another new shaft was sunk. Thomas's Engine Shaft. Severe weather caused several of the shafts to flood in 1867. Worse was to come however. The company purchased Wheal Union sett in September 1869 but declining production coupled with the low metal price meant that East Carn Brea's best days were over. An attempt was made to wind up the company in January 1871 and the disused plant at Wheal Union was offered for sale in February. The mine was still in financial difficulties and was finally sold in May 1871.

For more information on production dates and so on please see Roger Burt's excellent book Cornish Mines: Metalliferous and Associated Minerals, 1845-1913 (Mineral Statistics of the United Kingdom, 1845-1913).


There is a wealth of information on the mines and miners of Cornwall available. Why not explore Cornwall's industrial heritage through the Bookstore?

Other nearby mines and their main ores

Wheal Uny (approx. 0.4 km; COPPER & TIN)

Wheal Union (approx. 0.6 km; TIN)

Wheal Bucketts (approx. 0.9 km; COPPER)

Wheal Buller (approx. 1.0 km; COPPER & TIN)

Wheal Trefusis (approx. 1.0 km; COPPER & TIN)

Pednandrea (approx. 1.2 km; TIN & COPPER)

North Wheal Basset (approx. 1.3 km; COPPER & TIN)

East Wheal Tolgus (approx. 1.3 km; COPPER, TIN & ZINC)

Great South Tolgus (approx. 1.4 km; COPPER, TIN, ARSENIC & ZINC)

Wheal Sparnon (approx. 1.4 km; COPPER, COBALT & GOLD)

 

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