Dolcoath Mine, Cornwall
Camborne: grid reference SW661401
Notable minerals: Amethyst, Argentite, Arsenic, Bismuth, Bismuthinite, Blende, Cassiterite, Chalybite, Chalcocite, Chalcopyrite, Chlorite, Copper, Cobaltite, Cuprite, Dolomite, Erubescite, Erythrite, Fluor, Galena, Haematite, Hornblende, Kerate, Langite, Limonite, Lithomarge, Malachite, Melaconite, Mispickel, Orthoclase, Pitticite, Pitchblende, Pyrargyrite, Pyrites, Rock Crystal, Schorl, Silver, Smaltite, Tennantite, & Wolfram.
Dubbed 'The Queen of Cornish Mines', Dolcoath was originally a copper mine - output over 350,000 tons - the fifth largest producer in Cornwall and Devon; yet the sixty-seven years between 1853 and 1920 saw it yield the largest output of any Cornish mine of black tin, over 100,000 tons!. Dolcoath as we know it today is actually an amalgamation of several other smaller mines including Stray Park (1871), Bullen Garden Mine and Roskear. The mine began working in the early 1700's and was over 300 feet deep by 1746. It closed between 1788 and 1799 during the 'Great Copper Slump' when cheap copper from Parys Mountain in Anglesey flooded the market. On reopening, it grew to become the largest and deepest mine in Cornwall. Between 1799 and 1920 the value of its production was over £10 million (for all minerals). Other minerals of note included ores of arsenic, tungsten, lead, silver, bismuth, cobalt and even uranium.
As the copper ores were mined out, tin was discovered at the lower levels. It mined six different lodes including the Caunter Lode. The principal shafts being at Harriet's, Valley Shaft and Old Sump Shafts. Several other new shafts were sunk at the end of the 19th century such as the New Sump Shaft and New East shaft. Its main Williams' Shaft - incidentally named after its chairman Mr. Michael Henry Williams - had an exceptionally rich lode at the 412 fathom (2472 feet) level and the sinking of the shaft began on 26th October 1895. However shortly after World War One, tin prices fell drastically, with new deposits found elsewhere in the world. The once mighty Dolcoath shut in 1921.
The Great Flat Lode is an enormous ore bearing body tilted at an angle of about 45 degrees situated to the south of Carn Brea. Normally lodes are found perpendicular to the ground surface or at best at angles of about 60 degrees. The Great Flat lode got its name as in relative terms it lay a lot flatter in the ground. This, meant that mines could be placed at the optimum locations to extract the tin or copper ore from the ground without digging to excessive depths. The Great Flat Lode Trail encompasses all the major mines of the Camborne-Redruth area running in a 7.5 mile multi-use circular trail around the granite hill of Carn Brea. Follow the hyperlinks for more information and photographs on the main sections of this excellent trail.
'World Heritage' status for this area was granted on 14th July 2006. This should help to provide the necessary funding to improve and interlink all the mineral tramway projects. The majority of the trail is off-road and suitable for walkers, horse riders and cyclists. There are even some parts accessible to wheelchair users.
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
Cook’s Kitchen (approx. 0.4 km; COPPER, TIN & ARSENIC)
South Tincroft (approx. 0.7 km; COPPER, TIN & LEAD)
South Roskear (approx. 0.9 km; COPPER, TIN & ARSENIC)
North Crofty (approx. 1.0 km; COPPER & TIN)
South Crofty (approx. 1.1 km; COPPER, TIN, ARSENIC & WOLFRAM)
North Roskear (approx. 1.1 km; COPPER & TIN )
Great Condurrow (approx. 1.2 km)
Camborne Vean (approx. 1.2 km; COPPER 1845-85 & TIN 1857-84)
Carn Brea Mines (approx. 1.3 km; COPPER, TIN & LEAD)
Carn Camborne (approx. 1.3 km; COPPER, TIN, ZINC & ARSENIC)