Levant Mine, Cornwall
Penwith: grid reference SW368345
Notable minerals: Amethyst, Aragonite, Bismuth, Bismite, Chalcocite, Dolomite, Fahlerz, Gold, Hornblende, Kerate, Pharmacosiderite & Silver.
Levant Mine is located 2 miles north of St.Just and is bounded to the east by Geevor Mine, to the west by Wheal Unity and to the south by Spearn Moor and Spearn Consols mines. Levant appears as a mine in its own right on maps dating from 1748 on and consists of an amalgamation of several smaller and more ancient concerns. Their names such as Boscregan and Unity live on as shaft names. What we would consider today as modern Levant was formed in about 1820 by a group of investors - known in the trade as 'mining adventurers', who agreed to raise the sum of £400 by purchasing 80 shares at £5 each.
Two of the main investors in the company were Lewis Charles Daubuz and Mr John Batten. Their leadership along with some excellent prospecting helped the company to locate a large copper deposit at a depth of 20 fathoms (120 feet) below the surface. The adventurers rapidly got a handsome return on their investment and further exploratory work was carried out. From 1835 Levant began raising tin and was soon to become an important tin producer too. In the period 1820 to 1930 Levant produced over 130,000 tons of copper ore of high (10%) grade and 24,000 tons of black tin. In 1912 5,278 ounces of silver and 4 ounces of gold were also sold.
Levant swallowed up the nearby mine of Spearne Consols - now known as Higher Bal. Shafts were opened up at Angwin's shaft, Tresize's shaft, Goldsworthy's shaft and Batten's shaft. The underground workings of Levant extended out under the sea but in general due to the bedrock being the impervious greenstone there were very few problems with flooding.
A 'man engine' was installed on Daubuz's shaft in 1856 reached by a tunnel from the Miner's Dry. The shaft subsequently became known as engine Shaft one of only a dozen or so installed in Cornish mines. The journey time from surface to work place was radically reduced from over an hour to less than half an hour in most cases. The workers arriving fresher and more ready for work into the bargain. Along with all the new shafts and the installation of the man engine all the usual associated surface buildings sprang up around the site - stamps, both Cornish stamps and Californian stamps types; a calciner for roasting the ore and a mill area containing rag frames and buddles.
Levant is quite unusual amongst Cornish mines in one respect as it did use pit ponies for a short time from 1893 to tram the ore on the main 278 fathom (below adit) tramming level some 1600 feet underground. Levant is also remembered for the Levant Mine Disaster in October 1919. The second worst loss of life underground in a Cornish mine. 31 men were lost when the man engine snapped and fell down through the shaft.
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Other nearby mines and their main ores
Geevor Mine (approx. 0.7 km; TIN)
Spearn Consols (approx. 0.9 km; TIN & COPPER)
Botallack Crowns (approx. 1.2 km; TIN & COPPER)
Boscaswell Downs (approx. 1.5 km; TIN & COPPER)
Pendeen Consols (approx. 1.8 km; COPPER & TIN)
Wheal Edward (approx. 1.9 km; COPPER & TIN)
Wheal Owles (approx. 2.1 km; TIN & COPPER)
Boscean (approx. 2.4 km; TIN)
Boswedden (approx. 2.6 km; TIN & COPPER)
Wheal Castle (approx. 2.7 km; TIN)