South Crofty Mine Underground 10: With metal prices rising around the world for the last few years, perhaps Cornwall will soon have another working mine.
I hope very much this may happen soon. Until then these photographs may convey what it was like for the brave Cousin Jack working in his natural environment.
This page is a continuation of the Stoping images.
South Crofty Mine Underground 10.1 – The first image on Gallery 10 is of Underground Miner Clevie Williams. He was a Longhole Stoper. At the time he was setting up his drill.
South Crofty Mine Underground 10.2 – Clevie Williams getting a spare part for the drill, boxes of explosives are at his feet.
South Crofty Mine Underground 10.3 – Clevie Williams preparing a Longhole Stoping Drill for use, all the drill rods are stacked to the left of the drill.
South Crofty Mine Underground 10.4 – Another image of Clevie, the open stope is behind where the drill is positioned. The conical device in the background was for forcing the explosive into the drilled holes.
South Crofty Mine Underground 10.5 – Preparations complete and Clevie starts the drilling.
South Crofty Mine Underground 10.6 – Two South Crofty miners preparing another Longhole Drill for use. Underground Miner Paul Curtis is facing the camera.
South Crofty Mine Underground 10.7 – The drill had to be securely fixed, If it came loose during the drill it would be very dangerous.
South Crofty Mine 10.8 – Paul Curtis facing the camera, he is holding one of the drill rods.
South Crofty Mine 10.9 – With the preparations complete this image shows the drill in use.
South Crofty Mine 10.10 – Miner Dave Cunnick blowing out a drilled hole with compressed air prior to the explosives being placed.
South Crofty Mine 10.11 – John Usoro perched above an open stope talking with miner Dave Cunnick.
I have many images of Miners using their drills. The principle tool was the SIG 24K Rockdrill with telescopic leg. The rest of the images on this page cover the development of the drive which followed the lode underground.
A few notes about the Rock Drills from Neil Hodges.
We used the SIGs at Crofty. There were 3 models used, they were the 24K, 28K and 29K although the 28K was not very common. The number I believe referred to its weight in KG’s without the air leg attachment. The 29 was a bit more meaty than the 24 so better at drilling larger diameter holes. But obviously the extra weight meant you might tire faster. The airlegs also came in two main types. A 5ft single extension or a 3ft telescopic with three sections. The 5ft was used for tunnel development headings and the telescopic for raises as it was more compact
South Crofty Mine 10.12 – Underground Miner Vitek Urbanski drilling a hole for firing. This was probably on the 445 Fathom Providence crosscut, he is using a compressed air drill with a hydraulic leg to hold it in position.
South Crofty Mine 10.13 – It was very hot in this drive,. The common sight of water on the floor added to the high humidity levels, also not good for photography.
South Crofty Mine 10.14 – Vitek Urbanski, as with a lot of miners I photographed his eyes are closed when drilling.
South Crofty Mine 10.15 – My favorite image on the page. Vitek was very friendly. Even though he was having a break he happily offered to fire up the drill so I could take some pictures. Like all the miners there as long as you did not get in their way they were quite happy to be the photographic model.
South Crofty Mine 10.16 – Miners Andrew Harvey with Vitek Urbanski on the left with his back to the camera. Also drilling a drive, this was possibly the Providence Lode 400 Fathom Level.
The remaining images on the page are of Paul Gallie underground miner. The location is unknown, however I was very pleased with this set. It was amazing to see a skilled miner at work.
South Crofty Mines 10.17 – Here Paul Gallie is positioning the hydraulic leg to steady the drill when in operation.
South Crofty Mines 10.18 – The drilling begins on a low hole.
South Crofty Mines 10.19 – Paul is now drilling the next hole up. He is using a long drill bit for maximum penetration.
South Crofty Mines 10.20 – A good portrait of a “proper” Cornish Miner at work.
South Crofty Mines 10.21 – Without the telescopic leg the drill would be impossible to handle.
South Crofty Mines 10.22 – The exhaust from the SIG Rockdrill can be seen in this image.
South Crofty Mines 10.23 – With the drill deep in the rock the effort to control it can be seen.
South Crofty Mines 10.24 – Fighting with the drill. Even with the aid of the leg it was a huge effort to control.
South Crofty Mines 10.25 – A final image of Paul Gallie. He is bracing himself in an effort to control the drill.
South Crofty Mine Underground 11