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THE NEW MELLANEAR MINING CO. LTD. (1874 – 1876)


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

The property was acquired from the Mellanear Mining Company Limited who could not make the mine profitable due to two big problems. The first was that the mine was one of the wettest ever mines in Cornwall and secondly that a very good bunch of copper ore had been met with at different levels between the two engine shafts. In trying to make the mine successful they sank a new engine shaft, erecting a new large engine, but had to remove the large amount of water at an unusual high expenditure to keep the mine free of water. The high costs could not be met from the sales of copper ores. Could the new company overcome such problems ?

The Purser of the new company former was J. Knight, with offices at Bartholomew House, Bartholomew Lane, London, EC. It was a Limited Liability Company and eventually there were 8000, £4 paid up shares, to replace the exhausted capital of the previous company.

In August 1874, the work at the mine was resumed and the two large steam engines, 80 and 70 inch cylinder diameters, were at work, and it was expected that the mine would be in full operation in about 4 weeks. The new engine shaft, Gundry’s shaft, had reached the 76 fathoms level, being within 12 fathoms of its required depth, when in September 1874, by a series of accidents the pumping of the old engine shaft was interrupted so long that the water rose to the upper levels of the mine.

The capital remaining at the command of the adventurers being insufficient to repair the damages, and to continue sinking the new shaft, all operations were suspended. The Directors required financial and technical aid and they sought capital from other sources, to enable the adventure to be successful, so the late adventurers also failed in keeping the mine profitable.

The well known firm of Messrs. John Taylor and Sons, after consultation, formed a new company, under their management, to purchase the mine under the title ‘The Mellanear Copper Mine Co. Ltd.’. It was purchased for £7000, all payable in shares, which included the leases of the mine, all machinery, plant, and effects of every description belonging to the late adventurers.

No sales of copper ore from the mine were recorded. There were four steam engines on the mine, two large pumping engines of 80 and 76 inch cylinder diameters, and also two smaller rotary engines of 24 and 18 inch cylinders. The 24 inch engine was fitted with gear to allow hauling of copper ores and fitted with a strong capstan gear for lifting heavy pit work. The accident that was a major factor in closing the mine occurred when the capstan rope broke and a lift of pumps above the 50 fms lever dropped down into the shaft and smashed not just those pumps but also pumping machinery further down the shaft at the 65 fms level.