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THE MELLANEAR MINING CO LTD (1868 - 1874)


(Transcribed from Russell Webber’s [1934-2017] research)

The surrendered lease of the Mellanear Mine was taken over by the newly formed limited company, TheMellanear Mining Co Ltd. The lease dated the 25th April, 1868 was granted by Francis Rodd of Trebartha Hall, Esq, to the newly formed company for 21 years, rent £20.

The farms called Trellissick and Mellanear were to be worked for all metals at 1/30th dues until all costs were paid and then 1/24th afterwards. The capital was to be raised from 5000 shares of £4 each. By June 1872 8000 shares each of £4 were limited and fully paid up.

The Company's address was first at No. 124 Fenchurch Street, London, and later No. 3 Great Winchester Street Buildings, London, EC.
Secretary - Charles Pitcairn 1870, George Venn 1870, H. Wilson 1873,
Purser and Manager - Richard Stevens 1870;
Purser - Thomas Pryor 1873;
Managers - Richard Stephens 1869, Edmund Rogers 1870-73, J. Moyle 1873–74;
Agent – Capt. Richard Stevens 1872;
Chief Agent – J. Moyle 1872;
Auditor - Mr Nisbet 1872-73;
Directors - Messrs Gundry, Howard, Harvey, Rudge, Wilson, Hasetine, Ross and Nicholas.

The early working of the Company was not recorded to any great extent but in early 1871 mine reports appeared in the Mining Journal. No further application for the new issue of shares could be accepted and the list was closed and at the Annual General Meeting in July the cash in hand was £1955-6-3. Good progress had been made in the development of the mine, Skip Shaft was down to the 78, and at the 86 level west of it, a large stream of water tended to indicate that the ore ground in the levels above would be considerably dryer.

Progress was slow in driving the 100 fms level from the engine shaft due to the great influx of water and having to fix very heavy pit work there. The sinking of the new engine shaft (Gundry's Shaft) had commenced, with the view of relieving the present pumping engine and thus allow the opening up of an area of good ore ground to the west of Skip Shaft. The new shaft was down 29 fms below surface, and the crusher was complete and reported to be working well.

Capt. Rogers in May 1872 reported that the great struggle with the large amounts of water had passed and that the mine would soon be forked. The water was being reduced four inches per hour and by the 25th May the mine was drained to the bottom. Only a third of the lode had been worked, the outlook was very promising and it was advised the sinking of Gundry's shaft be resumed as soon as possible. The recent discovery in the 78 fms level, west of the cross-cut, could now be worked with great expectations of rich ore being mined and cross-cuts above and below this level should intersect the lode. Good profits should be made and dividends soon expected. The fifth Annual General Meeting was held in September 1872, Gundry's shaft was down to the 50, and it should intersect the lode at a depth of 70 fms.

The completion of the whim-engine had been delayed for shortage of castings from the foundry, but the engine should be at work in a week or two. The engine house was progressing, but scarcity of masons and labourers held up progress, yet it was hoped it would be built and finished before the wet season set in. Prospects of the mine had greatly improved and there was every confidence it would be a great success. The retiring Directors and Auditors were re-elected.

In January 1873, the 76 inch pumping engine was working at 11 ½ strokes per minute (S.P.M) and increased to 14 S.P.M in February, and then an engine stoppage for repairs allowed the water to rise in the backs of the 78 fms level resulting in 86 men made idle for a short time. The mine's water problems remained and it was not until the end of March that the new 80 inch pumping engine - made by Harvey and Co, named Ellen, in honour of Miss Gundry, a Director's daughter - was started to work by Mr George Gundry (junior) the engineer of the company, and this would relieve much of the pressure on the 76 inch engine.

Capts. Moyle and Rogers reported that at the 78 fms level, they had driven 50 fms in length over the lode, the water in the new engine shaft would soon be forked, and the resumption of sinking Gundry's shaft would commence. The new 17 inch steam winding engine and capstan were in good order and would soon be drawing the ores from the shaft. Over the following three months, a number of teething problems with the engines made forking of the water difficult to maintain and often brought the underground works to a standstill. The new Gundry's shaft was not as yet deep enough to communicate with the old Skip Shaft so as to help drain it with the new engine, another 18 fms were required to be excavated.

At an Ordinary General Meeting the shareholders were asked for permission to extend the Borrowing Powers of the Company, limited to £1000 by the Articles of Association. It was only necessary to pay for the new shaft to be completed for a profit to be realised from monthly copper sales, which should be large, and the Agents estimated at least £35,000 worth of copper ore was in reserve on the mine. An Extraordinary General Meeting gave power to the Directors to increase the borrowing to £5000. In July, 72 men were employed on tribute in the mine.

In July 1873, the Company was in debt yet the old part of the mine was drained, being worked, and good quantities of copper ore was mined. Capt Rogers strongly recommended the closing of the old part of the mine and pressing on with the work at Gundry's shaft. In late August the operations in the old part of the mine were suspended and the pumping engine was stopped. All was left in order, and the engine could be started to drain the mine when found necessary. Such action would reduce the expenses of working the mine.

On the 28th October 1873, the liabilities of the mine was £6258 and the arrears on calls about £620. Messrs Harvey and Co of Hayle, the major creditor, refused to supply goods or give further credit to the Company. It was proposed to voluntary liquidate the mine, and a committee of three was appointed to assist the Directors in investigating the affairs of the Company and report at an Extraordinary General Meeting to meet in two weeks. This meeting passed a resolution 'That the Company be wound up voluntary under the Companies Act 1862'.

The mine and its machinery, including the three steam engines, were to be auctioned as one lot. The reserve price of £8000 was not met, and the mine was again offered for sale. It eventually sold to the New Mellanear Mining Co. Ltd.

Copper ore sales from July 1870 and November 1873 amounted to 4,023 tons giving a total value of £14,802-1-0.