Mining in Cornwall

Mining in Cornwall took place from around 2150 BC (Bronze Age) until the South Crofty tin mine in Cornwall closed in 1998. In fact, Cornwall and Devon provided most of the United Kingdom’s tin, copper and arsenic until the 20th century when it became uneconomic to continuing mining. Click here to see a map of where all the mines in the Old Cornish Mine series were.

  • During the middle ages the mining industries were so important that King Edward I established county Stannary Courts to administer the law (and taxes)
  • In the early 19th Century Cornwall was the greatest producer of copper in the world, but discoveries of huge deposits elsewhere in the world led to a collapse in the industry
  • In 1870 Cornwall was the premier tin mining producer in the world with over 2000 working tin mines, but in 1872 tin was discovered in Australia which led again to a collapse in the industry by the 1880s and significant emigration of Cornish miners
  • Demand for tin during the First World War provided some respite, but the final mine closed in 1998
  • Much more extensive information on mining in Cornwall can be found in Libraries and on the internet