Thursday, 3 September 2009

Anyone interested in Cornish Mining History?

I met up with Tony Clarke yesterday. Anyone who visited Camborne School of Mines from the early 70s to 1998 would probably have met Tony. An enthusiastic Experimental Officer, he looked after the mineral processing laboratories and pilot plant and was always keen to show people around. It was a pleasure to work with him during my 22 years at CSM.
Anyway, he is now retired and writing books on Cornish Mining History. I have just had this email from him:

"Hi Barry, long time no see. Good to chat again and keep in touch. I've actually been pretty busy recently, continuing my research into the history and practice of Cornish 'mineral dressing'. In fact, I got a bit sidetracked from the 'big book' when I came across a fascinating treatise from 1858 in the Cornish Studies Centre in Redruth (in their 'rare' books' section) on the mechanical treatment of Cornish tin ores, in French, by a (future) very eminent mining engineer named Leon Moissenet, though at the time he was only 26 or 27, and had barely completed his studentship at the 'Ecole des mines' in Paris.It really is a wonderful study, impeccably compiled from first-hand observation (must have taken him months!), and chock full of the most interesting contemporary detail, from the point of view of what was then current theory and methodology, along with both constructional and operational details for all kinds of apparatus in use at that time - working capacities, feed rates, operating costs and so on. Plus, he included a host of excellent diagrams that he drew himself.Anyway, I couldn't resist it (nerdy to the end) and with the very kind permission of the Library have now completed a full translation, and cleaned up all the diagrams on the computer for inclusion in the text. I'm giving a special copy to the Library, but thought there might well be some possible interest further afield among the Mineral processing fraternity - both current and historically minded - if I can manage to persuade somebody to publish it.What do you think? Maybe you could test out reaction on your MEI blog? If you could, that would really be a great help."

If anyone would like to contact Tony, please do so via

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