South Crofty Mine Underground 11: The working conditions were pretty grim in the mine it was hot and dangerous work. However, spare a thought for the miners of the nineteenth century who walked to work often a long distance. Then climbed down ladders to get to their work place in the mine with only the light of a candle to guide them.
This page contains more images of the drive development, which is a horizontal passage which follows the line of the lode. Holes were drilled then charged with explosives to advance the passage. Following the miners would be track layers for the machinery and services such as ventilation compressed air would be installed.
It is a mixture of images of different areas and miners.
The late Dr Nick Le Boutillier kindly wrote some notes on the method of drilling the holes in the drive.
There was no ‘standard’ drill pattern. If a lode was narrow and planar you could get away with 6 holes. These were 3 parallel holes up, and 3 down from a sublevel. If the lode was wider, or if you had a mineralised envelope, the miner would drill a fan of holes of differing length to capture as much as possible.
If the lode had pinched or swelled, again you would drill a variable fan to get as much ore as possible. I saw rings with up to 20 holes in some of the more complex patterns. The longest holes could exceed 12m in depth. However more often than not they were 10m or less (less chance of the holes ‘wandering’) and in a fan some would only be 2-3m.
It was always very difficult to keep the cameras clear of mist and moisture. THe next few images were once again taken at the end of a drive. Here the temperatures could soar because of the lack of ventilation.
The next set of images on this page are of Underground Miner Vitek Urbanski. These were taken on the 445 Fathom Providence crosscut. I remember it clearly because Vitek asked me if I wanted to take some action shots of him drilling.
More images of another drive in another part of the mine. It was always very difficult to record the location details. All I ever did was ask permission of the miners to take their photographs.
This and the rest of the images on this page were taken on the 390 fathom sub level in North Pool. This was a pair of overlapping structures. East was the NPQ “North Pool Quartz Lode” the west side was on the NPB2 “North Pool B2 Lode” vein system. These images were probably taken in 1997.
Nick Le Boutillier had finished his investigation of the drive face. The miners then begin to get ready to start the days work.