South Crofty Mine Underground 10

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. There is ongoing work at the mine to bring her back into production. Sadly it has been a long hard job, as usual the funding is an issue. Good luck to them.

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

South Crofty Mine Underground 10.1 – The first image on Gallery 10 is of Underground Miner Cleve Williams. He was a Longhole Stoper, at the time he was busy setting up his drill.

South Crofty Mine Underground 10

South Crofty Mine Underground 10.2 – Cleve Williams getting a spare part for the drill, boxes of explosives are at his feet.

South Crofty Mine Underground 10

South Crofty Mine Underground 10.3 – Cleve 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

South Crofty Mine Underground 10.4 – Another image of Cleve, 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

South Crofty Mine Underground 10.5 – Preparations complete and Cleve starts the drilling.

I met Cleve and his mate Dave Cunnick many times on my visits. Very often our paths would cross, I remember Cleve was so happy I left some prints in the dry for him to collect. The following set of images are of Cleve and Dave at another location.

South Crofty Mine Underground 10.6

South Crofty Mine Underground 10.6 – This first image is a dramatic backlit image of South Crofty Miners using a Longhole Drill.

South Crofty Mine Underground 10

South Crofty Mine Underground 10.7 – In this image the camera had stared to steam up. This is Cleve and Dave standing proudly in front of their drill rig.

South Crofty Mine Underground 10

South Crofty Mine Underground 10.8 – A few from the front of the drill in operation. Huge quantities of water were needed in order to reduce the dust in the air.

South Crofty Mine Underground 10

South Crofty Mine Underground 10.9 – Cleve at the controls of his drill, because of the mist in the air photography was difficult.

South Crofty Mine Underground 10.10

South Crofty Mine Underground 10.10 – This, along with most the other images was a total fluke. Lit from the side, this image of Cleve is quite effective.

South Crofty Mine Underground 10

South Crofty Mine Underground 10.11 – A slightly different angle on Cleve, once again the flash is very effective.

South Crofty Mine Underground 10

South Crofty Mine Underground 10.12 – The drill is securely mounted on the metalwork crossing the image.

South Crofty Mine Underground 10

South Crofty Mine Underground 10.13 – A final image of Cleve at the controls of his drill. The water is gushing from the roof of the drive.

Another location and another pair of miners using a Longhole Drilling Machine. These were very difficult to photograph due to the huge amount of water vapour the drills produced.

South Crofty Mine Underground 10

South Crofty Mine Underground 10.14 – Two South Crofty miners preparing another Longhole Drill for use. Underground Miner Paul Curtis is facing the camera.

South Crofty Mine Underground 10

South Crofty Mine Underground 10.15 – In this image Paul Curtis is fitting the compressed air feed to the drill.

South Crofty Mine Underground 10

Cornish Mine Images Underground 10.16 – The drill had to be securely fixed. If it came loose during drilling it would be very dangerous.

South Crofty Mine Underground 10

Cornish Mine Images Underground 10.17 – Paul Curtis is facing the camera, he is holding one of the drill rods.

South Crofty Mine Underground 10

Cornish Mine Images Underground 10.18 – With the preparations complete this image shows the drill in use.

South Crofty Mine Underground 10

Cornish Mine Images Underground 10.19 – A second image of the drill in operation.

Cornish Mine Images

Cornish Mine Images Underground 10.20 – Miner Dave Cunnick blowing out a drilled hole with compressed air prior to the explosives being placed.

Cornish Mine Images

Cornish Mine Images Underground 10.21 – Another image of Dave Cunnick standing on the edge of the stope.

Cornish Mine Images

Cornish Mine Images Underground 10.22 – John Usoro perched above an open stope talking with miner Dave Cunnick.

Cornish Mine Images

Cornish Mine Images Underground 10.23 – This is what was left after the miners had removed the payable ore. A huge open hole, known as a stope.

Cornish Mine Images

Cornish Mine Images Underground 10.24 – This and the previous image were taken in the Roskear No4. My friend Matthew is holding the slave flashgun. Because there was no air movement in here is was very very hot.

South Crofty Mine Underground 10

Cornish Mine Images Underground 10.25 – The last image looking at stoping, another backlit photograph of Cleve Williams and his drill.

Sadly that is the last of the Stoping Images. The rest of the images on this page cover the development of the drive which followed the lode underground. I have many images of Miners using their drills. The principle tool was the SIG 24K Rockdrill with telescopic leg.

Cornish Mine Images

Cornish Mine Images Underground 10.26 -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 next set of images on the page are of Underground Miner Paul Gallie. The location is unknown, however I was very pleased with this set. It was amazing to see a skilled miner at work.

Cornish Mine Images

Cornish Mine Images Underground 10.27 – Here Paul Gallie is positioning the hydraulic leg to steady the drill when in operation.

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.

Cornish Mine Images

Cornish Mine Images Underground 10.28 – The drilling begins on a low hole.

Cornish Mine Images

Cornish Mine Images Underground 10.29 – Paul is now drilling the next hole up. He is using a long drill bit for maximum penetration.

Cornish Mine Images

Cornish Mine Images Underground 10.30 – A good portrait of a “proper” Cornish Miner at work.

Cornish Mine Images

Cornish Mine Images Underground 10.31 – Without the telescopic leg the drill would be impossible to handle.

Cornish Mine Images

Cornish Mine Images Underground 10.32 – The exhaust from the SIG Rockdrill can be seen in this image.

Cornish Mine Images

Cornish Mine Images Underground 10.33 – With the drill deep in the rock the effort to control it can be seen.

Cornish Mine Images

Cornish Mine Images Underground 10.34 – Fighting with the drill. Even with the aid of the leg it was a huge effort to control.

Cornish Mine Images

Cornish Mine Images Underground 10.35 – A final image of Paul Gallie.  He is bracing himself in an effort to control the drill.

South Crofty Mine Underground 11

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