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North Dolcoath Mine, Cornwall

Principal ores: COPPER & SILVER ORE

Camborne: grid reference SW634385

Notable minerals: Kerate & Silver.

North Dolcoath Mine sett is situated near Barripper, to the west of Camborne Town in the Camborne Mining District. It lies just to the north of the Barripper to Camborne road and to the east of Barripper stream. Nearby lay Wheal Molesworth and Wheal Nelson. The sett of North Dolcoath is bounded on the west by West Dolcoath, the south by Wheal Nelson, the east by West Stray Park (Grid ref. SW646392) and the north by Crane & Bejawsa (Grid ref. SW637400). The mine is thought to have commenced working about 1810 to be abandoned shortly afterwards. There is no definitive evidence available to corroborate this however.

It is known that there was an attempt to reopen North Dolcoath in 1836 as an advertisment was placed in the West Briton & Royal Cornwall Gazette in February of that year, but any further information is scarce.

In 1857 a lease was granted by the mineral lords, Reverend H. Molesworth St. Aubyn and the representatives of Edward William Wynne Pendarves. The terms were granted at 1/18th dues with the company offered in 5,000 shares. The manager was Captain W. Thomas and he was ably aided by Captain Joseph Vivian of North Roskear. The mine was cleared in the autumn of 1857 and by 1858 some silver-rich gossan ore had been raised. North Dolcoath also commenced sinking a shaft, later named Silver Shaft. Other shafts on the sett included Engine Shaft, Whim Shaft and Vivian's Shaft.

During the autumn of 1859, a 36-inch pumping engine with a 9-feet stroke was purchased for £450 along with a 10-ton boiler. Construction of the engine house began in November 1859, with the engine installed and working by the 18th of February the following year. Production of 'silver' ore continued during early 1860 with 119 tons raised and sold for £1,149. Unfortunately for North Dolcoath the silver-rich lode petered out to nothing by September 1860 and the income of the mine fell accordingly.

More problems arose that winter as heavy flooding occurred as a result of the collapse of the main adit that drained Wheal Nelson, East Rosewarne and West Tolcarne, amongst others. About a month later however,the floodwater had been brought under control and development continued including a further deepening of Engine Shaft. Intermittent copper production, coupled with bouts of flooding throughout the 1860's severely weakened the minew's financial position.

Thomas Spargo gives us an insight into the events at North Dolcoath in about 1865 in his book 'The Mines of Cornwall', he reports that North Dolcoath was '... in Camborne, Cornwall, in 5,000 shares. Secretary, Mr. W. J. Lavington, 20 St. Helen's Place, London. Local Purser, Mr. Joseph Vivian, jun., Camborne. Manager, Captain Joseph Vivian, North Roskear. Landowners, Messrs. St. Aubyn and Pendarves. Dues, 1-18th. Depth of adit, 12 fathoms; depth under it, 85 fathoms. Rock, clay-slate. 17 men, 1 female, and 4 boys employed. Pumping-engine, 36-inch.
This mine was commenced about 6 years ago, soon after which a considerable quantity of argentiferous gossan, of high produce, was sold in a short time ; but intelligent miners never expected a continuance of that mineral. In Dolcoath at the east, and East Rosewarne, Herland, etc. at the west, similar ore was found, but did not last many fathoms from surface. Copper is the ore looked for, and of this several parcels have been sold. The mine is a progressive one, so that a larger yield may be expected, and it is hoped that the Company will ultimately be benefited by their speculation.'

When the price of copper slumped in 1866 - from about £6.56/ton to £3.40/ton, this was the final straw for the mine. The company was wound up in August 1867. For an investment of £20,750 the mine returned 48 tons of 4.75% copper ore and £5,399 worth of argentiferous ore, releasing a dividend of just £1,250.
A brief reworking of the sett was undertaken between 1907 and 1913, known as Wheal Gersler between 1907 and 1910 and the Rayfield Tin Syndicate in 1913, a little tin was raised but nothing sizeable.

For more information on North Dolcoath and its neighbouring mines please purchase a copy of the excellent Cornwall's Central Mines: The Southern District by T. A. Morrison.

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

Stray Park (approx. 0.9 km; TIN & COPPER)

Trevoole (approx. 1.7 km; COPPER & TIN)

Camborne Vean (approx. 1.8 km; COPPER 1845-85 & TIN 1857-84)

South Tolcarne (approx. 1.8 km; COPPER)

Pendarves United (approx. 1.8 km; COPPER & TIN)

Carn Camborne (approx. 1.8 km; COPPER, TIN, ZINC & ARSENIC)

Pendarves & St. Aubyn (approx. 2.0 km; COPPER & TIN)

South Condurrow (approx. 2.4 km; TIN & COPPER)

Great Condurrow (approx. 2.5 km)

West Wheal Seton (approx. 2.6 km; COPPER, TIN & ARSENIC)


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