The area around Carn Brea was the most important of the mining districts in Cornwall and West Devon. It contained the most significant mines and the key industrial service industries
This area was rich in copper. Some of the mines that that worked the rich copper lodes in this area produced enormous quantities of ore - Dolcoath produced 350,000 tons of copper, Carn Brea and Tincroft 360,000 tons, East Pool and Agar 91,000 tons. To the north, North Roskear produced 170,000 tons, West Wheal Seton 126,000 tons and Wheal Seton 113,000 tons.
These mines were also rich in tin at depth: Dolcoath producing 80,000 tons, Carn Brea and Tincroft 53,000 tons, East Pool and Agar 46,000 tons, Cook's Kitchen 41,000 tons. To the south of Carn Brea, the Basset Mines produced over 290,000 tons of copper, Wheal Buller 242,000 tons, the Tresavean mines 228,000 tons, whilst the Basset Mines also produced 43,000 tons of tin and the Grenville United mines 14,000 tons.
The Camborne area had been one of the earliest to adopt the new steam pumping technology, because despite the cost of operating steam engines, effective drainage was the critical factor in successfully running a mine. Specialist industries sprung up in the immediate area - foundries and boiler works, fuse works, drill manufacturers. Camborne and Redruth both grew rapidly. Rail links to Hayle and Portreath allowed goods to be imported and exported.
The slump in copper prices in the mid 19th century inevitably hit this area. But the deep tin reserves in some of the mines to the north of Carn Brea and the discovery of the Great Flat lode to its south, cushioned its impact in the Camborne-Redruth district. The Gwennap mines to the east or the Gwinear mines to the west were virtually wiped out at this point. The effect around Camborne and Redruth was to close the smaller mines and eventually produce a small group of large, efficient, deep tin mines - Grenville United, the Basset Mines, Tresavean, Carn Brea and Tincroft, East Pool and Agar, South Crofty and Dolcoath.
The 20th century saw many closures. Grenville United ceased work in 1910, and following the post War slump, the Basset Mines in 1919, Dolcoath closed in 1920, Carn Brea and Tincroft closed in 1921, Tresavean was reopened in 1910, but closed for the last time in 1928, East Pool and Agar survived until 1949. South Crofty survived, modernised and took up many of the abandoned setts of the district. It even survived the tin crash of 1985 with government assistance, but closed in 1999, the last Cornish mine to survive.
The mining service industries of the area also went into a decline. Fuse making stopped at Bickford's Tuckingmill factory, only Holman's, in the field of rock drills and compressed air equipment survived, whilst the Camborne School of Mines built itself a reputation for training mine engineers. Camborne and Redruth became neglected
Today regeneration projects have been started to try to conserve the extraordinary mining landscape, and on developing long-distance trails and paths to link up its many sites (the Mineral Tramways Project). The summit of Carn Brea provides an panorama across this mining district.
|Camborne and Crowan Area|
|Name of Mine||Principal Shafts||Chief Produce||Notable Minerals|
|Bolenowe Mine (South Wheal Grenville)|
|Camborne Vean (including Wheal Frances)||Western; Engine; New Engine; Town and Eastern shafts||COPPER 1845-85 & TIN 1857-84|
|Carn Camborne||Western; Engine and Wheal Harriet Eastern Shaft||TIN & COPPER|
|Great Condurrow||Woolf's (Neame's); Smith's; Hope's & Vivian's shaft||TIN & COPPER|
|South Condurrow (Old Tye) later renamed King Edward VII Mine||Plantation; King's; William's; Fraser's & New shaft||TIN & COPPER|
|Dolcoath||Williams', Valley, Old Sump, New Sump, New East, Wheal Killas, Roskear,
New Roskear, Dunkins Footway Shaft and Wheal Harriet
||COPPER, TIN & SILVER||Bismuth, Wolfram, Galena, Arsenic, Cobalt & Amethyst|
|Silver shaft||COPPER & TIN||Wolfram & Silver|
|Grenville United||Fortescue's, Goold's and Marshall's||COPPER|
|Gustavus Mines||Weeth; Wheal Kitty; Adit and Hartley's shafts|
|King Edward Mine|
|South Roskear||Gregory's; Woods'; Footway; Flat Rod; Dunstan's; Vivian's, Roskear New & Pendarves' shafts||TIN & COPPER|
|North Roskear (Tolvaddon)||Blewett's; Paul's; Footway and Daylight shafts||TIN & COPPER||Galena, Jasper & Opal|
|Stray Park Mine||Wheal Gons; Footway; Old Engine; Old East; Old Dolcoath and Eastern shafts||TIN & COPPER Until 1870|
|West Stray Park Mine, Penponds|
|South Tolcarne||Taylor's shaft & Gossan shaft||TIN & COPPER||Pyrites|
|Tryphena Mine, Penponds|
|Violet Seton Mine|
|Engine, Valley & Adit shafts||TIN||Wolfram|
|South Crofty 1854-1998||Blight's; Sincock's; Sump; Robinson's; Rutter's and Palmer's shafts||TIN|
New Cook's Kitchen; New Cook's Kitchen Engine shafts; Richard's; Petherick's and Trevenson shafts
Wheal Gerry Skip & Old shafts
|TIN & COPPER|
|Wheal Johnny (North Wheal Seton)|
|Wheal Pendarves United||Simm's shaft||TIN|
|Wheal Rome (West Roskear Mine)|
|Wheal Seton||Simmons'; Carlyon's; Tregonnings; Footway; Barwell's shafts||TIN & COPPER|
|West Wheal Seton||Mitchell's; Old; Hidderley & Harvey's shafts||TIN & COPPER|
|East Wheal Seton||Cartwright's; Basset's; and Engine shafts||TIN & COPPER|
|Crenver & Wheal Abraham||TIN & COPPER|
|Pengelly Great Work Mine||TIN|
|Releath Mine (Crowan and Wendron Consols)|
|Wheal Cruett (North Wheal Metal)|