Monday, 25 March 2013

A mining pilgrimage for Physical Separation ’13 delegates

The birthplace of modern mining. This is what I have often called the Camborne-Redruth area of Cornwall. In the 19th century this was the world's largest producer of copper and tin. With the decline of the mines, due to the discovery of large deposits of tin in Malaysia and copper in the Americas, Cornish miners took their expertise to all corners of the world, leaving behind a heritage and industrial archaeological landscape second to none.

Everyone in the mining industry should make a pilgrimage to this fascinating part of the world, and delegates at this year’s Physical Separation ‘13 conference will have the opportunity to do just that.

Last Friday Barbara and I attended a Camborne School of Mines (CSM) reunion at the King Edward Mine Museum near Camborne. This is without doubt one of the best mining museums in the world, particularly as far as mineral processing is concerned, and this is in no small way due to the dedication of Tony Brooks, ex-CSM mining lecturer and Tony Clarke ex-experimental officer at CSM. I worked closely with Tony Clarke in the 1970s to develop the CSM Pilot Plant and his enthusiasm for that project has obviously carried over to the KEM Mill, which simulates a late 19th century processing circuit, complete with working stamp mills, buddles, round frames, rag frames, Frue vanners and shaking tables.

Tony Clarke explains the principle of the rag frame
Preparing a vanning assay
Delegates at Physical Separation ’13, and accompanying partners, are invited to a tour of the historic Camborne-Redruth mining area in the late afternoon of June 21st. After a coach drive to Camborne, passing the South Crofty Mine, the last of the tin mines to close, we will commence the tour with a visit to the KEM Mill, to see the old gravity devices in action, before driving to the Basset Mines in the heart of the district (see posting of 12 June 2011 for a full description of the Basset Mines).

West Wheal Basset
Don’t miss this trip if you are attending the conference! Take a look at photos from the Physical Separation ’11 tour.

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