South Crofty Mine Underground 17: This page contains general images of mining and drilling. I went to so many places and saw so much. I hope I have managed to preserve the history in my images.
The photographs on this page covers my last visit to the working mine, taken early in 1998 on the 420 Fathom Level. This was a time when virtually all the staff were underground removing all the high quality ore that could be reached. It was a traditional thing before a mine closed known as “picking the eyes out the mine”. I make no apology about the amount of photographs of Mickey Roberts drilling. It was rare to have such a chance to get such a set of images.
South Crofty Mine Underground 17.1 – This, and the next set of images are of Underground Miner Mickey Roberts using an SIG rockdrill.
South Crofty Mine Underground 17.2 – Miner Mickey Roberts. The extendable telescopic leg can be clearly seen, used to hold the drill in position. Without this it would have been impossible to use the drill.
South Crofty Mine Underground 17.3 – This was all taken in a small shrink stope. It was very hot in there with little ventilation.
South Crofty Mine Underground 17.4 – A huge amount of effort went into controlling the drill.
South Crofty Mine Underground 17.5 – It was always a fight to get the steel from the newly drilled hole.
South Crofty Mine Underground 17.6 – When drilling the miner always had to also keep an eye on the roof. The vibration from the drill could easily dislodge a loose piece of rock.
South Crofty Mine Underground 17.7 – The exhaust from the rockdrill can be clearly seen.
South Crofty Mine Underground 17.8 – Water is gushing from the hole Mickey is drilling. This was injected into the hole through the drill steel in order to reduce the dust being produced.
South Crofty Mine Underground 17.9 – Mickey Roberts sweating heavily in the extreme heat along with the effort of drilling.
South Crofty Mine Underground 17.10 – The noise from the drill is such a confined space was deafening.
South Crofty Mine Underground 17.11 – Once again the water can be seen coming from the hole.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 17.12 – Mickey was a very skilled miner and much respected by his workmates.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 17.13 – He made the task of drilling look incredibly easy.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 17.14 – The camera and the flash worked perfectly. Because for once I had a chance to take my time to get things right.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 17.15 – Now moving to the other side of the small stope. Mickey’s hands on the drill control can be clearly seen. Probably the sharpest image on the page.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 17.16 – Another image showing just how difficult the drill was to control, even with the aid of the telescopic leg.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 17.17 – In today’s mining environments the use of these drills are restricted. This is due to the amount of vibration the miner has to cope with while in use.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 17.18 – This final image of Mickey Roberts ends a set of images I am immensely proud of. Some of these were incredibly difficult to print. All were worth the hours spent in the darkroom.
The rest of the images on this page were taken in another small stope where a rich deposit of Tin had been identified. Small pockets such as this were often let as they were considered uneconomic. However with closure on the horizon it made easy pickings.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 17.19 – Miner Gary Kaczmarek barring down loose rock from the roof. This was necessary before any drilling to remove loose rock from the roof of the stope.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 17.20 – Miner Mike Tregonning standing beside a Cavco Trackless Rocker Shovel. In the background Gary Kaczmarek continues his barring down of the roof.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 17.21 – This was a good set of images to print with plenty going on and several different miners. This time Mike Tregonning is using a sledge hammer to break up some rocks. Miner David Jewell is on the right of the frame.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 17.22 – Mike Tregonning continues his breaking up of the larger rocks.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 17.23 – A final image of Mike Tregonning swinging the sledge hammer.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 17.24 – Senior Mine Geologist Nick Le Boutillier hosing down some ore to investigate its quality.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 17.25 – Using a hose to wash down the rocks from a recent blast. This is Nigel ‘Nobby’ Clark, Mine engineer and planner.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 17.26 – Another image of Nigel Clark, this was close to when the mine was closing. At this time the best pockets of ore were being removed and much of the staff were working underground.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 17.27 – The final image of this set. South Crofty Miners Mike Tregonning and David Jewell examining a chunk of broken rock from a blast, in the background is Nobby Clark. Also, my thanks to Martin Wolstenholme an ex-South Crofty miner who emailed me, for the names on this and other images.
South Crofty Mine Underground 18