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Gonamena Mine, Cornwall

Principal ores: COPPER

Caradon: grid reference SX262706

Notable minerals: Chalcopyrite & Cuprite.

Gonamena Mine lies about threequarters of a mile west of Caradon Hill in the Caradon Mining District. The Gonamena sett lies just southeast of Minions village and is bounded by South Phoenix to the north, South Caradon to the east and West Caradon to the south. There is little to see nowadays apart from the corner of an engine house.

There are records of some sort of surface tin mining taking place from the 1660's although underground mining did not take place until the mid 1840's. In 1844 the mine commenced underground mining, working Sara's Lode from Sara's Shaft and Hingston's Shaft. Other lodes on the sett included Taylor's Lode and Gilpin's Lode. Ore production at the mine grew steadily from 75 tons of copper in 1848 to a high point of 961 tons, worth £5,152 in 1860. The ore price was already beginning to fall however and although the mine expanded to employ a total of 94 workers in 1863, the best years were over. The following year the original 30-inch stamping, winding and crushing-engine was replaced with a new 50-inch pumping engine but production contiued to fall. In 1877, all work was abandoned at the mine. A brief reworking as the 'West Gonamena Mining Company' in 1883-86 came to nothing.

Despite lying adjacent to the highly successful South Caradon and West Caradon mines, Gonamena failed to live up to its expectations, clearly indicating the variation in ore lodes and structures making one mine hugely profitable and yet its near neighbours worthless.

Thomas Spargo, the mining historian, writes in his book 'The Mines of Cornwall and Devon: Statistics and Observations' in 1865, that Gonamena was '... in St. Cleer, Cornwall, in 6,144 shares. Purser, Mr. Richard Hingston, Liskeard. Accountant, Mr. John Taylor, St. Cleer. Manager, Captain Richard Pascoe, at the mine. Proprietress of the Land, Mrs. Elliott. Dues, 1-15th. Depth of adit, 10 fathoms; depth below it, 114 fathoms. Rock, granite. 82 men, 4 females, and 8 boys employed. Pumping- engine, 40-inch. Stamping, winding and crushing-engine, 30-inch.
This mine is in a good geological position, being surrounded by healthy mines, and, on the western slope of Caradon Hill, containing several lodes and cross courses, and on one part one of the lodes is reported by the agents to yield 4 tons of copper ore to the fathom; any length of this ground would enable the Company to derive profits; upwards of £20,000 has been expended; but, apparently, at first the progress of the mine was hampered by the engine power; judging from analogy, under fair management, this ought to make a good mine.'

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

West Caradon (approx. 0.0 km; COPPER)

South Caradon (approx. 0.2 km; COPPER)

Caradon Consols (approx. 0.9 km; COPPER)

East Caradon (approx. 1.2 km; COPPER)

Glasgow Caradon Mine (approx. 1.4 km; COPPER)

South Wheal Phoenix (approx. 1.5 km; COPPER)

West Rosedown (approx. 2.0 km; COPPER)

Marke Valley Mine (approx. 2.0 km; COPPER & TIN)

Wheal Jenkin (approx. 2.0 km; TIN & COPPER)

Craddock Moor (approx. 2.0 km; COPPER)


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