Do you know how a bal maiden bucked? Or what worked a whim? Or where you’d find the dressing floor? Discover how much more there is to mining than just digging a huge hole in the ground.
Follow the ore from the rock to railway
Do you know what a bal maid did? What a whim was? Or what you would use a jig for? Find brief descriptions of all the mining terms used on this website.
From finding the right location to dressing and smelting the ore, there was much more to mining than just what happened underground.
A miner’s job was to extract the ore that contained valuable metals from deep underground. To get to the lodes containing the ore, they first had to dig shafts or tunnels to reach it.
Once the miners had broken the ore from the rock, the next challenge was to get it to the surface. Ore was heavy and mines were usually hundreds, and in some instances thousands, of feet deep.
Getting the ore out of the ground was only the first part of the process. Once it had been brought it up the surface, the time-consuming, labour-intensive job of processing it began.
Arsenic is a chemical element which can be found in many minerals, usually combined with metals or sulphur. It was a valuable by-product of tin and copper mining in Cornwall and was widely used in a variety of industries.
The success of the copper and tin mines in Cornwall created a demand which led to the establishment of local ancillary industries, like smelting.