South Crofty Mine Underground 3: The equipment I used underground was all 35mm. The cameras were a mixture of Olympus Trips, sadly broken Om1’s and old Pentax Spotmatics. The older the camera the better as there were so few electronics to go wrong. The meters did not need to work because it was all point and shoot flash photography. However condensation in the lenses from the heat was a constant nightmare. Flashguns would regularly die, sometimes quietly, other times with a noisy bang. Once the moisture got in there short circuits would occur very quickly.
All in all I am surprised I managed to get any negatives to print at all.
This and the next page look at the different activities that went on in the mine.
South Crofty Mine Underground 3.1 – The next set of images were taken in a small shrink stope where the surveyors were measuring up. I think it’s a cracking series of photographs, sometimes the cameras and the flashguns worked well, this was one of those occasions. I have asked Allan Reynolds the location and he seems to think it was 360 Fathom No8 Lode.
South Crofty Mine Underground 3.2 – From left to right: Mickey Roberts (Miner), Allan Reynolds (Mine Surveyor) and Robin Boon (Chief Surveyor). In order for the miners to be paid the stope had to be accurately measured.
South Crofty Mine Underground 3.3 – From left to right: Mickey Roberts (Miner), Robin Boon (Chief Surveyor), Merv Randlesome (Miner) and Allan Reynolds (Mine Surveyor). I do remember it was very hot here. The area had bee recently mined out so the ventilation had not been extended into the working area.
South Crofty Mine Underground 3.4 – A good image of the guys at work. A large layer of the roof had been mined away. This was a small shrink stope where the miners would drill upwards. This was an efficient method of mining where the lode was rich.
South Crofty Mine Underground 3.5 – This image was a bugger to print, it took over an hour but with the reflection I think it was worth the effort.
South Crofty Mine Underground 3.6 – Merv Randlesome examining the roof. The structure here much have been unstable as there is an old roof bolt hanging down.
South Crofty Mine Underground 3.7 – Allan Reynolds (Mine Surveyor) at work in the stope, behind is Merv Randlesome holding the other end of the tape measure.
South Crofty Mine Underground 3.8 – Allan Reynolds and Mickey Roberts measuring up the stope.
South Crofty Mine Underground 3.9 – A second image of Allan Reynolds and Mickey Roberts. This was such a good set of images, sometimes in confined areas there was too much flash bouncing around, here is worked out perfectly.
Many images on this page refer to Surveyors and Surveying. Keith Russ who is still employed at the mine has kindly written out a few notes for the page.
Mine surveying is one of the most important aspects of modern mining. However it is often overlooked. If a surveyor does their job correctly no one notices – but if done incorrectly no one ever forgets !
South Crofty Mine Underground 3.10 – Andy Seager (L) and Senior Surveyor Andy Staples (R) surveying a drive, in the foreground a Rocker Shovel. This was an important part of the mine, maps and diagrams had to be accurate or lives could be lost. In this image they are checking the vertical by hanging a plumb bob from the roof of the drive.
Without surveys, the miners would not know where the various drives, sub-levels etc were in relation to each other. This can be very important from a safety point of view, especially when old workings are involved. In fact the survey is the skeleton upon which all other information can be based. Plans have to be kept by law and must be continually updated.
South Crofty Mine Underground 3.11 – Using an optical theodolite the drive could be accurately measured and mapped on to the mine plans. Here Andy is sighting up the newly mined passage.
Modern surveys use digital theodolites, and lasers to measure distances. Traditional surveys used optical theodolites, such as the Carl Zeiss and Wild T2 used by South Crofty, and steel tapes to measure distances. Open and closed traverses are used to create the centre lines for the shafts and drives. This has not really changed in 100 years, only the equipment used to do so.
The surveyors also measured the amount of rock broken so that the miners could be paid.
South Crofty Mine Underground 3.12 – Surveyors usually worked in pairs so the measurements could be checked and easily recorded.
South Crofty Mine Underground 3.13 – In order to check the distance old fashioned tape measures were used.
South Crofty Mine Underground 3.14 – A final image of Andy Seager hard at work. Sadly but (usually hung over) as I was when I stayed a week with him. Thanks Andy! I still can’t remember much of the evenings. This image is framed by an LM56 Rocker Shovel.
South Crofty Mine Underground 3.15 – Rory Bishop from the Geology Department examining a set of core samples from a diamond drill. This was such an important task. Without Diamond Drilling new ore reserves could not be found.
South Crofty Mine 3.16 – A second image of Rory snagging some samples. These would be taken to the surface. After crushing they would be analysed to determine the Tin content of the rock. The recovery was usually between 0.8 and 1.5%.
The next set of images are of a group of miners putting up ring supports in a drive. These were usually used when there was a major weakness or faulting in the rock of the roof. In circumstance where the roof was less fractured Rock Bolts would have been used with mesh to hold the loose stuff together.
South Crofty Mine 3.17 – The first view of the workplace, the roof appears to be quite high with the remains of Rock bolts in place. I would guess that the area had been stabilised before and failed.
South Crofty Mine 3.18 – It is very difficult to identify any of the miners. However Clarence Matthews Mine Timberman is on the right of the image.
South Crofty Mine 3.19 – The miner standing on the trolley is bolting the ring in place.
South Crofty Mine 3.20 – Another wider view of the miners at work.
South Crofty Mine 3.21 – A final image of the miners. Just how many does it take to erect the rings?
South Crofty Mine Underground 4