Great West Chiverton Mine, Cornwall

Great West Chiverton  Mine

West Chiverton Mine, along with Cargol and Ludcot, all located in the west of the county emerged in the 1860s as lead producers . Between 1845 and 1913 about 170 Cornish mines sold some quantity of lead ore. However only five of these mines - East Wheal Rose, West Chiverton, Mary Anne, Trelawney and Herodsfoot - accounted for over two thirds of total production. When their lodes ran out, there was nothing to replace them.

West Chiverton had a surge in output to the end of the 1860s, but a steep decline followed from the early 1870s.

1873. The fall in lead prices put pressure on the industry's profits.

1870 At the peak of its output West Chiverton produced 3,582 tons of lead which was estimated to contain over 160,000 oz. of silver, that is 45 oz. to the ton. Refining was profitable at anything over 5 oz. per ton. The values of the lead and silver contents of the ores were very similar, at about £40,000 each.

1873 West Chiverton sold 2,224 tons of lead ore with an estimated lead content of 1,668 tons of lead and 70,056 oz. of silver. The market value for the metals was £43,201. However, the mine received only £29,929, with the other third of market value going to the merchants and manufacturers.

1880s a further fall in lead prices the virtually finished the industry off in Cornwall.

1881 a 26-inch engine was bought from West Chiverton Mine in for £220 to wind from the shaft adjacent to the pumping engine.

The production of zinc was less significant for Cornwall's lead mines than silver. West Chiverton and Cargol were the only lead producers to achieve a high level of zinc output and even then productive period was comparatively short. Zinc production took over as the primary product of West Chiverton in the 1870s and significantly extended the life of the mine. In fact at the time it became one of Britain's largest zinc mines.

A sudden surge of output from West Chiverton in the late 1870s revitalised the mine. However, new producers in Wales, Cumberland and the Isle of Man were also expanding their operations and soon resumed the lead. With the closure of West Chiverton and Duchy and Peru in the mid-1880s, Cornish zinc production collapsed and rarely again amounted to more than a few hundred tons per year.

Mines on the North Cornwall Coast