Monday, 2 April 2018

Cornwall's King Edward Mine provided a perfect setting for the 40th International Mining Games

The annual International Mining Games sees teams from Mining Schools around the world (including USA, Brazil, Australia and Europe) compete in 7 events of traditional mining methods in order to commemorate those who have lost their lives in industry and preserve techniques for years to come. The competition was started in 1978 in honour of the 91 miners who died in the Sunshine Mine disaster in Idaho, USA.
Each year the competition is hosted by a different Mining School across the world, and this year, over the Easter weekend, it was hosted by the Camborne School of Mines (CSM). In 2012 CSM hosted the event for the first time outside USA or Australia (posting of 2nd April 2012).

Teams from Western Australian School of Mines (top) and CSM (below) compete
in the Swede Saw, sawing through 5 sections of timber using a bow saw
Although keenly contested, the games are not just about competition, however. They also provide an opportunity for young people to network and provide a scouting opportunity for mining companies looking for new recruits.
Members of the Montana Tech team
There could not have been a better setting for the Games than the King Edward Mine in the heart of the Great Flat Lode, a massive deposit of tin which was intensively worked in the 19th and 20th centuries. Often referred to as the 'birthplace of modern mining' the landscape is dotted with ruined engine houses, the legacy of a bygone era.
King Edward Mine, known to generations of students as KEM, was for over a century CSM's field station for practical mining and surveying. The mine was formerly part of South Condurrow Mine, which was abandoned in 1896. The old CSM mineral processing laboratories were a few decades ago converted into one of the world's finest historical museums, one of the few, if any, places in the world where 19th and early 20th century gravity concentrators, such as round frames, buddles, Frue Vanners and rag frames, can be seen in operation. It was great to see that during the Games free access to the museum was available to the public.
Shaking table, KEM
The only operating rag frames in existence
Bal maidens by the rag frames at Wheal Grenville, adjacent to KEM, c1900
The ruined engine houses of Wheal Grenville
Congratulations to the winners of the 2018 Games:

Men: Camborne SOM;  Women: Missouri University of Science & Technology; Mixed: South Dakota SOM; Alumni: Western Australian SOM
Twitter @barrywills

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