Wheal Basset Mine, Cornwall

Wheal Basset Mine

The Basset Mines consisted of three mines Wheel Frances to the south of Carnkie, West Wheel Basset and East Wheel Basset. By 1896 all three mines merged as 'Basset Mine Limited' and the company continued until 1918 when it closed due to the falling price of tin.

During the period 1815-1905 14,178 imperial tons of black tin and 94,200 tons of 8.5% copper ore were recovered.

The mines is about 2.5 km along the valley between Carnmenellis and Carn Brea. It's most important ore body was the Great Flat Lode that strikes ENE and dips 30° SSE. This lode is characterised by highly disseminated cassiterite constituting 1-3% of the rock in a matrix of quartz-tourmaline-chlorite gangue.

1720 is the earliest mention of mining in this area. Both mines were owned by the Basset family, the landowners whose seat was at Tehidy. Boundary disputes inevitably arose between Wheal Basset, West Wheal Basset and South Wheal Francis but in 1896 the three mines merged to form the Basset Mines Ltd.

The stamps at the Basset Mine are described by J Trounson: “The rotative beam engine which drove these stamps was a very unusual one consisting of two engines joined together to make a double cylinder engine with cranks arranged at 90 degrees to one another thus making for easy starting as well as being a very powerful unit.”. This rotary beam engine eventually drove 96 heads of stamps.

The Basset mines were closed during the tin price slump in December 1918.

Today you can visit the Vanner (shaking table) House and read the information boards on complex of buildings, engine houses and shafts. a plaque shows the view north and points to West Wheal Basset Stamps and associated buildings across the shallow valley on the southern side of Carn Brea. Shafts recorded are Robert's shaft, Theager's Shaft and also Richard's Shaft with its smithy and dressing floors. There is a tramway tunnel to South Wheal Frances with its complex of buildings. There is a date stone marked “AD 1854” in the granite ashlar bob wall at West Wheal Basset and the old Basset Count House is now a restaurant.

Basset Mine contains large terraced dumps. Mine waste is exposed at the faces of the terraces, where stepped dumps have become too steep to be stable. White clover is has grassed over level areas where the ground is stable.

Illogan Area Mines, Cornwall