Botallack Mine: So, this is certainly one of the best known and dramatically placed mines in Cornwall. It worked from 1815-1914 producing a total of; 22,465 tons Copper, 14,888 tons Tin and 1,525 tons of Arsenic.
The two engine houses on this section “The Crowns” were renovated during 1984 by the Carn Brea Mining Society. The upper winding house served the Boscawen Diagonal Shaft.
Work started here in 1858 to gain access to the undersea rich sections of the mine far out underneath the Atlantic sea bed.
In April 1863 this was the site of a tragic accident when the chain attached to the gig used for hauling men broke on its way to the surface. As a result, eight men and a boy sadly lost their lives.
On July 24th, 1865 the Prince and Princess of Wales (later Edward VII and Queen Alexandra) visited the mine and went underground here. Undeterred by the fatal accident they traveled the same route as the miner’s on that fateful day in 1863.
During 1874 the Crowns area was abandoned because the ores were worked out. The lower engine house contained a 36″ Pumping engine which worked from 1835-1895 draining this section of the mine.
The owners kept the mine working a further 20 years until 1895. Closure finally came for the great mine when the undersea Wheal Cock section was flooded when a dam underground failed. That and also the low price of Tin was the end of the old mine.
So the story of the mine still went on, in 1905 a new company reopened the sett. The Tin price had risen and things were promising. A new vertical shaft “Allen’s Shaft” was sunk, new surface plant and processing were installed.
Regrettably after disappointing results, problems with ore processing and a huge amount of expenditure the mine once again closed on March 14th 1914.
This is a dangerous climb up to the Botallack Mine Boscawen Shaft. It should not be attempted without the proper equipment.
The last chapter of the mine was in the 1980’s. Geevor Mine conducted exploration in the area with a view to reopening the submarine levels of Botallack Mine. Allen’s Shaft was refurbished also a new steel headframe was installed. Because of the Tin price crash of the 1980’s the project was abandoned.
This is a wonderful piece of coastline that is steeped in history. It is hard walking in places however there are car parks locally. So, it is well worth a look, find a quiet corner and soak up the history.