Polmear Mine, Cornwall
St Austell: grid reference SX032518
Notable minerals: Chalcopyrite & Pyrites.
Wheal Polmear, including South Polmear lies about one mile east southeast of St Austell, in the Par Section of the St. Austell Mining District. This copper mine also raised ores of lead, silver, zinc and iron. There is nothing to see nowadays, but the sett lies west of Charlestown and north of Duporth.
The mine worked five lodes: Ploughshare (also known as Pond's) Lode, Pwer House Lode, Gewen's Lode and Gewen's South Lode. Shafts included: Barratt's Engine, Job's, Luke's, Engine, Counthouse, Derrick's, Lobb's, Footway, Gewen's, Gardiner's, Gewen's Eastern, Smithy's and Moyles Shafts.
Thomas Spargo, the mining historian, writes in his book 'The Mines of Cornwall and Devon: Statistics and Observations' in 1865, that Wheal Polmear was '... in St. Austell, Cornwall, in 1,024 shares. Purser, Mr. Francis Barratt, jun., St. Austell. The management is by a committee, consisting of Messrs. J. P. Bennetts, Falmouth, F. Barratt, sen., St. Austell, George Wright, Bodmin, William Luke, Charles- town, and R. H. Williams, St. Austell. Mineral Owner, Duke of Cornwall. Dues, 1-18th. Adit, 34 fathoms deep. Depth below it, 30 fathoms. Rock, clay-slate, 1 mile from granite. Pumping-engine, 36-inch. Water-wheel, 36 feet by 4£ feet, pumping eastern part of sett. Water-wheel, 40 feet by 2 feet, crushing ores. The ores and debris drawn by horse whims. 73 men, 20 females, and 12 boys employed.
Minerals sold in 1864, 753 tons 1 cwt 0 qrs. of copper ore for £3,859 3s 4d, 88 tons of mundic for £74 13s 9d making a total of £3,933 17s 1d.
The soil was broken in 1842, but the present Company took the works in hand about 10 years ago. The results have disappointed the expectations, inasmuch as the rich discoveries of copper have not lasted. The miners call it a " bunchy " mine. Considering the shallowness of the works, the returns may be regarded as fair. One could wish to see a trial 50 fathoms deeper, but the Company want heart to sink, so they are content to see what they can find at shallow points. A new wheel for pumping water has lately been set to work at the eastern side of the sett, where the prospects are good. The lodes are large, numerous, and promising.'.
Production reports show that Wheal Polmear raised 6,459 tons of 8& copper ore, 77 tons of 33% zinc ore, 1,733 of pyrite, 64 tons of arsenical pyrite (mispickel) and 5 cwt. of black tin between 1856 and 1859, and between 1898 and 1900.
South Polmear meanwhile raised 34 tons of 5.5% copper ore between 1869 and 1876; 14 tons of 50% lead ore, 150 ounces of silver, 510 tons of zinc ore and 38 tons of pyrite between 1870 and 1880.
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Other nearby mines and their main ores
Great Crinnis (approx. 3.0 km; COPPER, LEAD, IRON & SILVER)
Pembroke Mine (approx. 3.0 km; COPPER & TIN )
Par Consols (approx. 3.0 km; COPPER & TIN)
East Crinnis (approx. 3.2 km; COPPER, TIN & ZINC)
Great Polgooth (approx. 3.5 km; TIN & COPPER)
South Polgooth (approx. 4.6 km; TIN)
Treverbyn, Knightor, Ruby & Trethurgy (approx. 4.7 km; IRON)
Par & St Blazey Consols (approx. 5.1 km; TIN)
Wheal Bunnie (approx. 6.0 km; TIN & WOLFRAM)
Great Hewas United (approx. 6.1 km; TIN, COPPER, LEAD & SILVER)