Summary of the Transactions – The 1950s
The 1950s saw some revival in the Mining Industry with the possibility of some much needed investment brought about by a rise in the price of tin which reached just over £1000 per ton in 1951 and settled down at between £720 and £790 per ton between 1952 and 1960. There was some interest in re-opening some of the mines which had most recently closed but much of the investment was devoted to modernising the mines which were still working. Geevor and South Crofty replaced long serving steam engines with electric pumps and more modern drilling techniques were introduced such as the use of tungsten drill bits and air legs.
This decade was one of increasing prosperity for the China Clay Industry, particularly the main company, English China Clay. A great deal of rationalisation, amalgamation and investment took place to meet the increasing demand. For example sales increased by seven per cent between 1957 and 1959.
The prosperity of the extractive industries had a knock-on effect on the other industries which provided support, particularly engineering. For the largest engineering company, Holman Brothers, which celebrated its 150th anniversary in 1951, the decade was one of of continual prosperity and expansion both at home and abroad.
By 1960 the recovery of the mining and engineering industries from the wartime conditions seemed to be more or less complete but, unfortunately, this was not to continue for very long.
The Transactions for 1950/51 opened with the Editor apologising for the delay in publishing them, something beyond the control of the Joint Secretaries. He reported that a full complement of meetings had been held but it had not been possible to publish all all the the papers or lecture notes partly because three of the meetings had been devoted to films. Invitations to attend two meetings of the South West Branch of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers were received, one on “The Application of Atomic Energy Products in Industry” by Sir John Cockcroft and the other, delivered by Mr. J. L. Norton, was on “The Design and Development of the Twin Centaurus Power for the Brabazon Aircraft”.
It was noted that there had been no entries for the William Thomas Prize.
There was a full programme of six General Meetings the first held on the 28th September was the occasion for the Presidential Address by Mr. J. H. Southwood on the subject of “Some Mining Experiences in Africa”. It was based on his personal experiences in Northern Rhodesia and particularly in Northern Nigeria.
Three of the other meetings were film meetings, all of them on mining subjects. One of the others was on wire and wire ropes but the Transactions contained no information on this talk except for the speaker’s name and the subject. The other talk was on the high speed diesel engine and it was followed by a discussion in which ten members took part.
Annual General Meeting, 16th March, 1951.
The President asked Mr. F. B. Michell and Mr Hutchin to present the Annual Council Report and the Financial Statement respectively.
The Council Reported another successful year. Mr. Michell said the Summer Meeting to Falmouth Docks and Spargo’s Quarry had been well attended although the date of the meeting was not reported in the Transactions. The membership was unchanged at 111 Members and Associates and five Annual Subscribers. Four Members had died or resigned during the year and four new Members had been recruited. The deaths included Mr. W. H. Eplett, a Past President and for ten years an Honorary Auditor.
There were no entries for the William Thomas Memorial Prize
The Council had agreed to apply to the Cornish Mining Development Association for Affiliate membership.
The Council also raised the question of revising the Constitution and By-Laws and recommended that a Committee should be set up to investigate the issue.
The Council had also held the necessary ballot and recommended Mr. F. Hutchin for the post of President tor the year 1951/52. This was agreed by the Meeting. There was no report on the election or re-election of the Treasurer or appointment of Auditors.
The bank balance on 1st January 1950 was £523/14/3. Income during the year was £108/5/4 including £98/16/- from subscriptions and £8/15/- interest from the Trustee Savings Bank.
Expenditure, including £50 for Secretaries’ salaries and £30/5/6 for the production of Transactions, amounted to £96/19/7 resulting in a balance of £535/-/-, an increase of £11/5/9.
The balance of the account with the Camborne Printing and Stationery Company had continued to fall to stand at £13/16/7 and the William Thomas Memorial Fund, in the absence of any award, had again increased slightly to £87/10/10.
This concluded the formal business of the meeting and the President invited Dr. T.K. Elliott to give a talk on “Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in Mines” and it was fully reported in the Transactions.
A discussion followed during which some members spoke about their experience of being affected by the gas.
The introduction to the Transactions reported that there were eight General Meetings and a Summer Visit to New Consols and Trebartha Mines and members had again been invited to attend meetings of the South West Region of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. However, the dates of these meetings were not recorded and the details of only seven General Meetings were recorded.
The editor also recorded that four members had died during the year.
On 17th September 1951 the President, Mr. F. Hutchin, chaired the first General Meeting at which he asked members to stand in memory of Mr A.V. Paull, who had been Vice President of the Camborne School of Mines. The President then introduced Mr. P.M. Harvey who delivered a paper on “Automatic Winding Practice”. Neither the paper was nor any notes on its contents was published in the Transactions.
The second General Meeting on 31st October was the occasion for the Presidential Address entitled “A Review of the Determination of Tin Ores and Concentrates”. He said that the exhaustion of richer deposits of metal ores and rising metal prices made exploitation of lower grade ores of great importance. His very detailed paper occupied nineteen foolscap (approximately A4) pages of the Transactions.
He then introduced Mr. K. F. G. Hosking who demonstrated some of the tests described in the paper.
The third and fourth General Meetings were both film evenings, and at the fourth included a talk on “Ball Bearing Manufacture” about which no details were given. The fifth General Meeting on 26th January 1952 heard a paper by Mr. A.J. Mitchell on “Some Aspects of Canadian Nickel Mining” for which he was later awarded the William Thomas Memorial Award”.
The sixth General Meeting heard a paper by a Cornishman, Mr. F. B. Michell who reviewed mineral practices in the USA based on work he had done while representing the Malaysian Chamber of Mines on an OEEC mission to the USA.
Annual General Meeting, 9th April, 1952.
The President presented the Council’s Annual Report on what had been a successful session. He mentioned the successful visit to ECLP, Lee Moor then Marsh Mills power station and the new clay processing plant. Oddly, this does not agree with the Editor’s note in the Transactions which says the visit was to New Consols and Trebartha Mines. In addition the report mentioned only four General Meetings while the Transactions list eight.
There were eight new Members, two new Associates and one resignation.
The Council had agreed that the By-laws should be revised and a sub-committee had been appointed and submitted draft proposals to the Council.
Election of Officers. Following a ballot the Council had proposed that Mr. E.C. Knuckey should be President for the next session. This was accepted by the AGM. Mr. J. H. Trounson was re-elected as Treasurer and Messrs. Eustace and Roberts were appointed as Auditors.
Financial Statement. The bank balance on 1st January 1951 was £535. The income from subscriptions had increased slightly by £5/11/- to £104/7/-. There was a small surplus from the summer visit and interest of £8/19/6 had been received.
Expenditure including £60 Secretaries’ fees and £48 for publication of Transactions amounted to £125/2/10 resulting in a slightly reduced balance of £526/8/8 on 31st December 1951.
The balance of £10/16/7 in the Camborne Printing Company account had been returned to the Institute and would be credited to the General account.
The William Thomas Memorial Fund received interest of £2/13/7 resulting in a balance of £90/4/5.
At the close of the official business Mr. D. H. Young of Philips Electrical, was invited to present his paper on “Recent Developments in Arc Welding Electrodes”. He described the requirements imposed by the use of high tensile, good ductility steels and the benefits obtained by the use of coated electrodes when welding these materials.
There was no record of any discussion.
The Editor’s notes to the Transactions said it had been difficult to get papers for publication resulting in the small size of this volume (Vol. 8) of the Transactions.
His notes reported that the summer visit on 4th July had been to the Delabole Slate Quarry followed by tea at Tintagel and a visit to the Central Electricity Board Sub-Station at Fraddon on the return journey to Camborne. He also noted that a paper delivered by Mr. J. P. Polkinghorne at the Members’ Evening was not reproduced because a longer paper on the operation he described would be presented during the 1953/1954 session.
At the first General Meeting on 24th September, Mr. Hutchin, the retiring President, reported the death of two members. He said that Mr. A. J. Michel could not be present to accept the William Thomas Thomas Memorial Award since he had taken up a post overseas.
He then invited the President Elect, Mr. E. C. Knuckey to take the Chair and deliver the Presidential Address which was entitled “Early Reminiscences of Mining in Cornwall and Africa with Observations on the Mineral Wealth of India”. In it he made only a very brief mention of Cornwall then an equally brief coverage of his time in South Africa except to say that it was expected to become the world’s largest producer of Uranium.
He spent the remainder of his talk on India and started by explaining that the partition in 1947 of what had been a single country into India and Pakistan left India with approximately 97% of mineral production. He said that even so India was not particularly rich in mineral assets although there was probably enough useful material to make the country self sufficient.
The main minerals he mentioned were coal, iron ore, gold, manganese, copper and mica. Mica had been the subject of a paper which Mr. Knuckey had presented to the Institute in 1950.
His talk was supported by a number of slides.
The Transactions did not include papers from any other General Meetings.
Annual General Meeting, 29th April, 1953.
The AGM was chaired by Mr. M. Gregory in the absence of the President who was overseas on business.
He gave a short report on the year’s activities and announced the result of the Council’s ballot for Officers and Council Members. Mr. G. E. P. Roberts was nominated as President for the year 1953/54 and this was endorsed by the meeting which also re-elected Mr. J. H. Trounson as Treasurer and reappointed Messrs. Eustace and Roberts as Auditors.
The financial report was presented by Mr. F.H. Hutchin.
The bank balance on 1st January 1952 was £526/8/8, subscriptions were £114/5/-and the total income was £125/13/-. The total expenditure was £88/6/6 leaving a balance on 31st December of £576/13/9. The William Thomas Memorial Fund had increased slightly to £90/17/6.
In a change from the usual talk after the completion of the formal business there was a Members‘ Presentation when two Members gave talks followed by a discussion.
Mr. J. P. R. Polkinghorne gave a talk on the Barryta Mine near Bridford. As already noted he was scheduled to present a longer paper on the same same subject during the 1953/54 session so this talk was not published in the Transactions.
The second talk by Mr. A. Langford, Holman Bros. was on the subject of “Tungsten Carbide in Rock Drilling with Special Reference to Tipped Steels”. He gave a brief history of its development in the 1930s. Practically no progress had been made during the War but Holman Bros. restarted work immediately post-war and the first batches of Tungsten Steel (CT) drills were produced in August 1946. The evening, and the 1952/1953 lecture session, ended with a discussion on “The Care and Filing of Mine Plans” led by Mr. R. G. Head.
The Editor’s introduction to Volume IX, of the Transactions said that there had been a full complement of meetings during the session but that not all papers had been published. Three meetings had been devoted to films and another two films were shown in support of lectures.
There had been no candidates for the William Thomas Memorial Award.
He regretted to report the death of Mr. H. W. Hutchin, former head of the Metallurgical department at CSM, who had been President of the Institute in 1917/1918 and was elected as the first Honorary Member in 1934.
At the first General Meeting on 24th September 1953, Mr Roberts delivered his Presidential Address on “Mineral Workings and Associated Industries in Cornwall”. This was a very comprehensive review of the state of metaliferrous mining, china clay extraction, granite and road stone quarrying and beach sand extraction for agricultural purposes. He listed 18 areas which were most suitable for mining although he also pointed out that at that time only three mines were in active production, South Crofty, Geevor and Castle an Dinas.
The second General Meeting on 14th October was given over to two films, “Moving Earth” by courtesy of John Laing and “The Great Jib” by courtesy of Messrs. Stuart and Lloyd Ltd.
The third General Meeting on 19th November heard the talk on “the Bridford Baryta Mine” by Mr. J.P. R Polkinghorne which was a much expanded version of the talk he had delivered at end of the AGM on 29th April. There was an early history of lead mining in the area and more recently between 1857 and 1880 about 26,000 tons of lead ore, 17,300 tons of lead metal and 367,000 ounces of silver were produced.
The paper was followed by a discussion in which several members took part and the points raised and discussed were recorded in the Transactions.
The fourth General Meeting on 10th December started with a film “No Man is an Island” shown by courtesy of the Office for the Province of British Columbia.
After the film had been shown the President announced that the Council had elected Messrs. T Berryman, T Grabble, and W. Jelbert to be Honorary Members. The President then said that the meeting now had to become a Special General Meeting to consider the draft Constitution and By-Laws proposed by the Committee which had been appointed for this task. Several minor changes to the draft were proposed and accepted by the meeting. Perhaps the most significant change in the Committee’s proposals was to change the name of the Institute to “The Cornish Institute of Engineers”. These changes are recorded in Chapter ??? which traces the development of the Constitution from the 1913 original to the current version.
The fifth General Meeting on 30th January 1954 was a Members’ Evening which was held because of success of the one held after the AGM on 29th April the previous year. Three papers were presented of which only one was published in the Transactions.
The first paper, on “Maxam Pneumatic Equipment”, was presented by Mr. W. Bennetts, Works Manager of Climax Rock Drill and Engineering. This paper was not published. The second paper was on “The Hydro Cyclone Classifier” delivered by Mr. B. Elcox who said this device was developed the US in 1891 but not use until 1939 when it was used by Dutch State Mines after which it came into more general use although he gave no details of exactly of just where. There was ashore question and answer session after this paper.
The final paper given by Mr. M. Gregory was entitled “Fire Setting” and he started by saying that the first written mention of the use of fire setting for breaking rocks dates from the 7th century b.c. in Jeremiah, Chapter XXIII v.29. This is probably the oldest publication ever referenced in the Transactions.
The sixth General Meeting heard a paper by Mr. L. G. Brown on “War Time Open-Cast Coal Production in the United Kingdom”. He recounted the arguments for and against open-cast working but he said that the inability of the mining industry to meet the war time requirements made open-cast a near necessity. He said there had been many derogatory remarks about the level of bureaucracy involved but this had been common in many other industries at the time.
Annual General Meeting, 2nd April 1954
The President invited Mr. F. B. Michell to present the Council’s report. It commented on the success of the Members’ Evening and on the election of the three Honorary Members. The Institute’s strength was 82 Members and 27 Associates. There was a rise in the number of members from the clay industry but it was noted that some members from the quarrying and engineering industries were conspicuous by their absence from the General Meetings.
Regrettably, once again there had been no entrants for the William Thomas Memorial Fund Award.
The Council reported that mention must be made of the changes to the Constitution and By-laws passed at the Special General Meeting held in the previous December. Under the new Constitution, Past Presidents will remain ex-officio members of the Council for two years after leaving Office.
It was also noted that the new regulations provide for a slight increase in Membership subscription from £1 to a guinea and the subscription for Associates would rise to 12/6.
The opening bank balance on 1st January 1953 was £576/13/9. Subscriptions amounted to £398/16/- including some arrears and advance subscriptions. Expenditure was £127/1/4 leaving a bank balance on 31st December of £569/0/8. The William Thomas Memorial Fund stood at £93/12/8.
Elections. After the ballot organised by the Council, Lt. Col. G.A. Whitworth was proposed as President for the year 1954/1955 and this was confirmed by the meeting. Mr. J. H. Trounson was once again re-elected as Treasurer and Messrs. T. Berryman and W.G. Eustice were appointed Auditors.
At the close of formal business there was a short talk by Mr. E. B. James of Messrs. Holman Bros. as an introduction to a film entitled “The Observation of Dust in Mines by an Illumination Method.” He then gave a demonstration of the technique in the lecture after which there was another film on “The Dryductor”. Both films were made by the Holman film unit.
The paper was published in the Transactions as well as a discussion on the films, lecture and demonstration.
This volume of the Transactions, Vol. IX, included the revised Constitution and By-Laws as well as a list of Members.
Volume X, of the Transactions is very sparse in terms of content. The customary introduction by the Editors is missing and it starts with a short report on the first General Meeting on 1st October 1954 at which the President, Lt. Col. G.A. Whitworth delivered his Presidential Address on “Modern Methods of Prospecting”. In it he described described how the use of aerial photography had helped in prospecting by identifying areas where geophysical instruments for detecting density, magnetism, elasticity and electrical conductivity could then help to identify the presence of ore bodies although traditional techniques such as bore holes still had their uses.
The second and third General Meetings on 28th October and 27th November respectively were both film evenings. The first was “The World from the Air” by Hunting Aerosurveys Ltd. and the second was “Prospecting for Petroleum and ‘Rig 20’.” which was produced by the Petroleum Films Bureau.
The fourth general Meeting on 19th January 1955 was given jointly by Messrs. K.F.G. Hosking, F. B. Michell and J.P.R. Polkinghorne on the subject of “Columbite”which is the principal source of Niobium which is used in jet engines although there are other minor sources.
The fifth General Meeting held on 24th February was a Members’ Evening when three papers were presented two of them being published.
Mr. M Gregory described “An Underground Air Balancer” which was designed to keep a more uniform air pressure in stopes and ends underground where the original air system had been outgrown. The technique involved the use of a disused stope measuring about 45 x 40 x 30 feet for which the entrance could be sealed off with re-enforced concrete. It was charged up to about 75 psi in the periods between shifts and connected into the general air supply during during the shifts. The balancer maintained between 70 and 78 psi for several hours. 70 psi was the normal working pressure for the air supply in the mine concerned.
Mr. A. Langford spoke about “The Swanpool Tunnel” which was driven as part of the Falmouth sewage disposal scheme which consisted of one and three quarter miles of trunk sewers and branches. The system included concrete storage tanks for 195,000 gallons which were discharged on the ebb tide. The tunnel is 2652 feet long and is 6’3’‘ high by 5’6’‘ wide and the outfall at Penance Point is roughly half way between low neap and low spring tides. He described the way of entering the tunnel for maintenance and during the discussion which followed he described the arrangements for ensuring that high tides could not flow back into the system.
The paper which was not published was given by Mr. C. J. Hocking, manager of the Cornwall sub-area of the South West Electricity Board on “the Development of the Electricity Supply Industry”
Annual General Meeting, 21st April 1955
The Council Report and the Financial statement were read by the joint Secretaries, Mr. F. Hutchin and Mr. F.B. Michell.
The Council reported that the summer meeting, on an unreported date, had been well attended. The first visit was to view the recent additions to the surface plant at Geevor Mine and this was followed by a visit to inspect the Levant Whim Engine which had been preserved by the Cornish Engine Preservation Society about which Mr. J. H. Trounson gave a short talk. He also gave a short talk at the following visit to the Botallack cliffs to see the remaining buildings there. After tea at the Gurnard’s Head Hotel the Gieve Mill Plant of Mineral Recovery Ltd. was inspected.
The council had also noted that there had been problems with the projector equipment at the second General Meeting and some for the films had to be shown at the third Meeting.
It was reported that the membership now stood at 88 Members, 26 associates and 4 Company Subscribers. Five new Members and one Associate had joined during the year and one Associate had resigned. It was noted with regret that Mr. J. S. Whitworth had resigned from the Council and the post of Vice-President for personal reasons.
There had been no entries for the William Thomas Memorial Fund prize.
The appointment of Officers and Council Members nominated by the Council after a ballot was accepted by the meeting. The election of Mr. J. H. Langford as President for the 1955/1956 session was confirmed. Mr. J. H. Trounson was re-elected as Treasurer and Messrs. Roberts and Eustice were re-appointed as Auditors.
The bank balance on 1st January 1954 was £569/0/8. The income was £124/11/5 including £111/13/6 from subscriptions. Expenditure amounted to £124/1/7 which included £42 for printing of Transactions and £60 for the Secretaries’ fees. The resulting balance on 31st December was £569/10/6.
The President said that there were problems in holding the Summer Visits on Saturdays since many of the potential venues were no longer available and he proposed that they should now be held on Fridays. This was agreed and that the 1955 summer meeting should be to the ICI Penlee Quarry and St. Michael’s Mount on Friday 1st July.
He also spoke about the continuing lack of candidates for the William Thomas Memorial Prize. He proposed that the prize should be increased from £2/2/0 to £5/5/0 for a trial period of five years and that it should be opened to students at recognised Technical Colleges and Universities; this was agreed. As there was not enough in the fund to provide this amount it was proposed that any deficit should be made up from general funds.
On completion of the formal business the President invited Dr. T. K. Elliott, a graduate of the Camborne School of Mines and a Divisional Medical Officer for the National Coal Board to deliver a lecture on “Some Surface Health Hazards in Coal Mining”. The paper was not published in the Transactions.
There was a full programme of six General Meetings and the AGM. There was no mention of a Summer Meeting in the Transactions (Volume XI).
The first General Meting, held on 30th September 1955, was the occasion for the Presidential Address by Mr. J.H. Langford who was introduced by Mr. M. Gregory in the unavoidable absence of outgoing President, Lt. Col. Whitworth. Mr. Langford’s address was entitled “Some Notes on Prospecting” and he said he would confine his remarks to operations in the field in which his practical experience had been gained. This had been mainly in the development of the alluvial deposits in Nigeria by hand labour and the practices involved. He explained the system of granting prospecting licenses and the searching techniques for surface deposits which are very shallow.
The President was in the chair on 20th October for the Second General Meeting for a paper by Mr. G.E.P. Roberts on the subject of “The Stanneries, Blowing Houses and Coinage Halls”. He said his paper was not original and the information in it had been gleaned from a number of older sources and he apologised for the lack of supporting illustrations.
The third General Meeting on 18th November was shown two films – “Research in Engineering” and “The Electron Microscope” both shown by courtesy of the producers, Metropolitan-Vickers Electrical Co. Ltd.
The fourth General Meeting on 27th January 1956, heard two papers which, for the first time in recent years, had been circulated in advance. Both were concerned with the laying of pipes for the transmission of high pressure coal gas. The first speaker, Mr. C.R. Winter said that in the previous six years the S.W. Gas Board had laid 1000 miles of pipeline which now constituted the the largest gas grid in the country and 170 miles of this was in Cornwall.
The second paper on “The Radiographic Examination of Welding” was read by Mr. R .B. Wholly and he spoke about the various faults that could occur in welds and the reasons they did occur. He explained that avoidance was reliant on good training and testing of welders and the quality of supervision.
The fifth General Meeting on 28th February delivered by Mr. G.J. Shrimpton on “Some aspects of Current Canadian Mining Practice” but the paper was not published in the Transactions.
Annual General Meeting, 27th March 1956
The meeting was chaired by Lt. Col. Whitworth who asked Mr. F.B. Michell to read the Council’s Annual Report. He said that there was, in fact, little to report but there had again been a series of successful meetings. He said that the Members’ Meeting was being held over until the following month because one of the by-laws require the AGM to be held in March. He drew attention to an invitation by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers to a lecture on 13th April, on the subject of “The Application of Atomic Energy to Power Production” by Dr. S.R. Curran, Senior Superintendent at Atomic Weapons Research Establishment, Aldermaston.
Mr. Michell recalled that the date of the Summer Meeting had been changed in the previous year to a Friday and it likely that this arrangement would have to be to continued in future although the 1956 meeting would be held on a Saturday the 30th June.
The results of the ballot for Officers and Council Members were endorsed by the meeting and he announced that the President Elect for the 1956/57 session as Mr. B.O. Rees. The membership numbers were: 92 Members, 25 Associates, 4 Annual Subscribers. There were 4 new Members and 1 new Associate.There had been no resignations during the year.
The meeting re-elected Mr. J.H. Trounson as Treasurer and Messrs. Roberts and Eustace were re-appointed as Auditors.
The Financial Statement for the year 1955 was presented by Mr. F. Hitchen
The bank balance on 1st January was £569/10/6. Subscriptions amounted to £115/16/3, the sale of Transactions raised 10/- and bank interest was £11/12/10 giving a total income of £127/19/1, an increase of just over £3 compared with the previous year.
Total expenditure was £85/12/11 which was a small decrease over the previous year. The balance on 31st December was £622/16/8, a rise of £42/6/2.
The William Thomas Memorial Fund stood at £99/7/6 taking into account interest and the fact that no prize had been awarded that year.
At the close of business the President invited Mr. D.D. Drury to read his paper on “Flat Back, Cut and Fill Stoping at Zinkgruran, Sweden.”
This mine was a Zinc mine and the surface plant such as flotation machines is situated about 12km north at Amraeberg on the shore of Lake Vatten. There was access on the lake for ships on which the ore was loaded before being transferred to larger ships at Gothenburg for the journey to Antwerp where the parent company was situated. The lake had also been used for dumping the tailings which, at the time Mr. Drury was there were being re-worked.
The mine produced 120,000 tons of ore per year and it was intended at that time to increase it to about 180,000 tons.
It was reported that following the talk there was a lively discussion in which several members, including the President, took part.
The Members’ Meeting was held on 27th April and heard papers by Mr. S. Furze and Mr. B. O. Rees.
Mr. Furze’s paper was entitled “Jottings from My Notebook”and he started by saying that the modernisation of Cornish ore dressing plants began at Giew and Geevor Mills. He gave some information on the difficulties that were experienced in introducing machines such as Wiffley and Buss Tables and Frue and Lockrig Vanners and he referred the listeners to his Presidential Address to the 1925/26 Session.
The paper by Mr. Rees dealt with “The Laying of 33,000 and 11,000 High Voltage Cables across the Hayle and Fal Rivers.” He said that in the previous three years the S.W. Electricity Board had laid three high tension cables across the Hayle River and one across the Fal. There was a discussion after his talk but the details were not reported in the Transactions.
The Summer Meeting was held on 30th June when 46 members and friends visited ICI (Nobel Division) Ltd., the King Edward Mine, the Laboratories at the CSM and the new gas works at Truro. Brief notes on each of these visits were given in the Transactions which also reported that the meeting concluded at the Tregye Country Club where the President introduced his successor, Mr. B.O. Rees. who gave a short address referring to the influence of the Institute and reminded members that as long ago as 1922, Mr. W. Hosking on behalf of the Institute had presented a scheme for mining development in the Camborne – Redruth area.
This Volume of the Transactions (Vol. XI) concluded with a list of members.
During this session there was a joint meeting with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and the Institution of Production Engineers as well as five General Meetings and the Annual General Meeting.
The first General Meeting on 28th September was the occasion for the Presidential Address by Mr. B.O. Rees on the subject of “Tunneling Under the River Hayle. The meeting was chaired by Col. Whitworth in the absence of the retiring President.
Mr. Rees said that paper was based on work done in 1939 and 1940 but it had been classified as Secret so that there was a lack of photographs or records meaning there was lack of detail. The extension of the Power Station capacity to 17,000 would mean a shortage of cooling water at low tides and the current need was for one million gallons per hour. It was proposed that the extra requirement would be met by increasing the capacity of Carnsew Pool and sinking a 7ft diameter, 110 ft deep shaft on each side of the river. The work was actually started in August 1939 but there were problems with soil conditions and some of the equipment. The civil engineering contractor and the equipment used were changed and the tunneling work was eventually completed in 1941.
The Joint Meeting with the Institutions of Mechanical Engineers and Production Engineers was held on 16th October for a talk by Mr. H.D. Hedges, Director of the Tin Research Institute on “Organo-Tin Compounds and their Application in Industry”, however, the talk was not published.
The second General Meeting on 13th November heard a talk on “Dry Concentration” by Mr. C.T. Sweet, the Managing Director of Knapps & Bates, Ltd. The paper was not published in the Transactions.
The third General Meeting on 30th November heard about “Some Experiments in Gravity Concentration” by Mr. C. Burch of the H.H. Wills Physics Laboratory at the University of Bristol assisted by Mr. R.H. Mozley, a Research Student.
Mr. Burch described the merits of three pieces of equipment; the packed column classifier, a mechanised vanning shovel and a shaken helicoid concentrator. The latter had been tested in South Crofty and Hawkswood mines in 1955 and Mr Mozley described the construction of the Helicoid.
The talk and the subsequent discussion were reported in the Transactions.
On 25th January 1957, the fourth General Meeting heard a paper on “Prospecting Minerals is Malaya” by Mr. l.G. Brown. He said that the paper was intended to be a follow on from the Presidential Address on 1955, on the prospecting methods in Nigeria. He covered the Malayan geography, geology and sociological environment arising from the mix of people and races which affected the labour supply
There was a short discussion which was reported in the Transactions.
The 5th General Meeting on the 22nd March heard a paper by Mr. F.B. Michell on “The Concentration of Fine Cassiterite by the Gravity Method”. His talk was concerned with the processing of slimes and the techniques and materials such as some defloculating agents used. A lengthy discussion followed with a number of members involved and it was reported in full.
Annual General Meeting, 5th April 1957
The President asked Mr. F.B. Michell to deliver the Council Report. He said it had been another successful season which had included a joint meeting with two other Institutes and the Summer Meeting had been well attended. There were 94 Members, 25 Associates and four Subscribing Members. There had been no entries for the William Thomas Memorial Prize despite the increase to £5/5/0.
Following a ballot the Council had elected Mr. L. G. Brown as President for the following Session. The Meeting endorsed this nomination. It also re-elected Mr. J.H. Trounson as Treasurer and Messrs. Roberts and Eustice were re-appointed as Auditors.
Mr. F. Hutchin then presented the Financial Statement for 1956 which showed a Bank Balance of £611/16/8 on 1st January. Income included £113/15/2 from subscriptions, £1/2/6 from sale of Transactions, £12/16/11 from bank interest, £5/5/0 from the William Thomas Memorial Fund and £2/15/6 profit from the Summer Meeting. Expenses showed an increase of £80/15/4 over the previous year including £66/3/4 for the publication of Transactions. The balance of £581/3/6 on 31st December showed a decrease of £30/12/2 over the year.
The William Thomas Memorial Fund showed a decrease of £2/5/4 after the award of the prize to Mr. D.D. Drury.
At the close of the formal business the President invited Dr. T.K. Elliott of the National Coal Board to deliver a talk on “The Medical Aspects of Protective and Allied Equipment.”
He started by listing eleven characteristics that are needed and discussed the effectiveness of such items as Safety Helmets, Knee Pads, Safety Boots, Eye Shields, Shin Pads and, rather strangely, Sandals. He said the most important item from this list was Helmets and he had included Sandals because of the incidence of athletes foot being transmitted in the shower rooms in miners‘ dries.
There was a discussion in which several members participated and a member pointed out that the accident rate in Cornwall was higher than the national average. Dr. Elliott said no logical answer had been found and a member suggested that it could be that most accidents were the result of carelessness.
This volume of the Transactions (Vol. XII) concluded with a report on the summer meeting which had been held on 6th July 1957. The meeting had started with a visit to the new dry dock at the Falmouth Dockyard of Messrs. Silley, Cox & Co. Ltd. After lunch the party went to the quarry of the West of England Road Metal Co. Ltd. at St. Keverne and after a visit to the Lizard Lighthouse the party had tea at the Lizard followed by an informal meeting at which Mr. Rees handed over the Chair to Mr. L.G. Brown, the President-elect for the 1957/58 session.
Mr. Brown said he was also Secretary of the Cornish Mining Development Association (CMDA) of which Mr. J. H. Trounson, the Institute’s Treasurer, was Chairman. Mr. Trounson had said “Repeated ways had been sought by men best qualified to speak about the matter that there is an urgent need for Britain to look to her future supplies of metal and that she should do everything to encourage home production. All such warnings have fallen, however, on deaf ears at Westminster. After nine years of fruitless effort this Association had been forced to to conclude that, so far as so far as home production of non-ferrous metals was concerned Westminster and the Treasury are impervious either to to reason or to expert advice and are unwilling to profit by the example set by rather more far-seeing Governments. Therefore if any headway is to be made public opinion must be aroused so that our Government can no longer ignore the matter with impunity.”
In this connection the formation of the United Kingdom Mill Mining Associations by the large British mining houses is to be welcomed and our Association is glad to be able to co-operate with the new body in the hope that our combined efforts will be successful in correcting that climate of public interest.”
Mr. Brown reminded members that the Institute was affiliated to the CMDA
In this session there was a summer visit and seven General Meetings including one joint meeting and one film evening plus the Annual General Meeting after which a paper was presented.
The first General Meeting on 26th September 1957, heard the Presidential Address by Mr. Brown whose subject was “ The Application of Geo-Physical Prospecting Methods in Kaolinised Granite”.
He started by describing five different geo-physical methods in general use and went on to concentrate the rest of this talk on the use of Electrical Conductivity. He said that tests at an eight hundred acre site had demonstrated the effectiveness of this technique although it is not sufficient on its own to show the extent of kaolisation.
The second General Meeting on 15th October heard a talk by Mr. B. Earl, Technical Services Department, Nobel Division, ICI Ltd. He described the desirable properties of explosives used in mining and quarrying. He outlined the properties of various types of explosives differentiating between “low” and “high” then spoke of the importance of ventilation in underground working and the question of safety during movement and loading into shot holes.
A short film entitled “Shot Delay Rock Blasting” produced by Nobel (Australia) was shown before a discussion in which six members took part.
The third General Meeting on 31st October was a joint meeting with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in the Camborne Technical College and it was shown some technical films introduced by Mr. W.E. Butland of Shell-Mex & BP Ltd.
The fourth General Meeting on 19th November was another film evening when two films were shown.
The fifth General Meeting on 5th February, 1958 heard about the “Suggested Codes of Practice on Cladding and Ventilating Buildings”. This was delivered by Messrs. R.D. Sharrock and J.B. Kendal, Messrs. Robertson Thain Ltd. Samples of ventilation equipment were shown and demonstrated.
The sixth General Meeting on 21st February heard a talk on “Stoping Practices Adopted on Hartebeestfontein Gold Mine, South Africa.” delivered by Mr. D.O. Glesson.
It was a very comprehensive paper starting with the Geographical position of the mine and its location relative to other mines in the area. The geological features were described and the factors influencing the stoping methods used. The talk was well illustrated with maps and diagrams and the Transactions covered the following discussion in which 12 members in addition to the speaker took part.
The seventh General Meeting on 14th March was given a talk on “Photoelectric Instruments in the Measurement of Trade Wastes” by Mr. P.W. Stourm of Messrs. Evans Electroselenium Ltd.
Annual General Meeting, 18th April 1958
The President asked Mr Hutchin to present the Financial report for 1957. He said that there was a balance of £581/3/6 in the main CIE account on 1st January. Subscriptions provided an income of £103/3/6, bank interest was £14/3/6 and total income was £117/7/-, which was £18/8/1 less than the previous year. Expenditure was £86/7/5, £80/0/10 less than in 1976 due to the fact that no Transactions had been published. The closing balance was £612/2/1 an increase of £30/19/7. The Summer Meeting had incurred a loss of 14/- !
The William Thomas Memorial Fund showed an increase of £2/18/6 to £100/0/8 because no prize had been awarded.
The President asked Mr. F.B. Michell to read the Council report. The membership figures showed there was 86 Members, 26 Associates and 4 Subscribers. A visit had been arranged for 5th July to the new China Clay plant at Blackpool and the power station at E.C.L P & Co.
Following the ballot Dr. K.F.G. Hosking had been selected for President for the year 1978/79. This and the proposed Council Members were endorsed by the AGM.
Mr. Michell said that he had found it impossible to carry on as joint Secretary but he was pleased that Mr. Hutchin was prepared to carry on and Mr. G.J. Shrimpton had agreed to take over as the second Joint Secretary.
He thanked the President and Council for electing him as an Honorary Member and the President thanked him for the work he had done with Mr. Hutchin in getting the institute together again after the lapse during the War.
Elections Mr. J.H. Trounson was re-elected as Treasurer and Messrs. G.E.P Roberts and W.G Eustice were re-appointed as auditors.
The William Thomas Memorial Prize was awarded to Mr. D.O. Glesson for the paper he had presented on 21st February.
The President closed the formal meeting and invited Mr. Michell to present two papers. The first paper was entitled “Some Preliminary Observations on the Effect of Surface Conditioning on Magnetic Separation”. In it he discussed the problems that occurred and the possible solutions including the addition of fatty acids to the material. His second paper was on “The Effect of Frothing & Collecting Agents on the Efficiency of Froth Flotation in Tin Ore Dressing.” He described the work currently being done to fully understand the process although it had been used for about 30 years.
The Transactions for 1957/58 (Volume XIII.) concluded with a report on the Summer visit on 5th July 19578 to E.C.L P & Co. Following the visit tea had been served at the Britannia Inn after which there was an informal meeting at which Mr. Brown the outgoing President, handed over to the President-Elect, Dr. K.F.G. Hosking. He spoke briefly on the mineral potential of Cornwall. He said it was of no use to say there was more tin in Cornwall than ever came out of it since no one knew this for sure or whether it could be economically extracted. Dr. Hosking referred to a paper he had written with Mr. J. H. Trounson, Chairman of the Cornish Mining Development Association, supporting a symposium organised by the Institution of Mining and Metallurgy on the future of non-ferrous mining in Great Britain and Ireland. He mentioned that certain areas which appeared worth investigation included the undersea area immediately North of Cligga and St. Agnes.
Volume XIV of the Transactions covering this lecture session contained no editorial introduction. However, it showed that the programme consisted of no fewer than ten meetings including a talk following the AGM. The tenth General Meeting had been held jointly with the Institution of Production Engineers and the ninth and tenth General Meetings had, unusually, been held after the AGM.
The first General Meeting on 1st October was chaired by Mr. F.B. Michell in the absence of Mr Brown, the outgoing President. He invited Dr. Hosking to give his Presidential address on “The Analytical Aspect of Geochemical Prospecting for Metals” . He said that the erosion of ore bodies resulted in the leaching of ore into surrounding soil and if these zones of anomalous metal concentration can be established by the analysis of soil, plants, etc. it could lead to the discovery of hitherto unknown ore bodies and his paper was concerned with how this could be done.
At the conclusion of his talk Mr. J.P. R. Polkinghorne demonstrated the technique for detecting copper and arsenic in soil.
The second General Meeting on 24th October heard a paper by Mr. C.W.J. Crawford of the British Iron and Steel Research Association on, “Some Current Developments in the Steel Industry”. He said that in the twelve years since the end of the War there had been many advances in steel making. He gave an example of the new oxygen steel making process made possible by the invention of a method for producing oxygen in large quantities.
He then summarised the main processes for making iron and steel pre-1946 and then described the developments over the last 12 years.
The third General Meeting on 19th November, heard a talk by Mr. J.C. Nicholas on the subject of “Modern German Mining Machinery” before seeing two films produced by the Salzgitter Machinery Co, Germany.
The fourth General Meeting on 10th December, heard from Dr. F.R. Williams of British Titanium Products Ltd on the subject of “The Technology of Titanium Pigments”, before seeing a film produced Titanium Products Ltd.
On 28th January 1959, the fifth General Meeting saw two films although the precise subject of the first is difficult to deduce from the title which was “The Big Z” which shown by courtesy of the Agent General (UK) of the Province of Ontario. The subject of the second film, “A Measure of Maxam”, produced by the Holman Film Unit was more obvious.
The sixth General Meeting on the 20th February heard a very comprehensive and well illustrated history of “Incidents, Breakages and Repairs of Mining Machinery” in Cornwall presented by Honorary Member, Mr T. Berryman.
The seventh General Meeting on 10th March took the form of a symposium chaired by Mr. G.E.P. Roberts with contributions by Dr. B.A. Bannister, Dr. K.F.G. Hosking, Mr. F.B. Michell and Mr. J.P.R. Polkinghorne on the subject of “Uranium Exploration, Exploitation, Mineralogy Analysis, Treatment and Education”.
The eighth General Meeting on 24th March was given two related talks by Mr. J.H.Langford. The first was “Notes on Cement Manufacture” and the second on “Concrete Dam Construction in Cornwall”.
Annual General Meeting, 10th April 1959
The President was in the chair and invited Mr. F. Hutchin to present the financial Statement for 1958.
The Bank balance on 1st January was £612/3/1. Income was £122/5/1 including £98/16/- from subscriptions and £4/8/1 interest from Trustee Savings Bank. Expenditure was £192/8/5 including £93/4/6 for publication of Volumes X and XI of the Transactions. The Bank balance on 31st December had decreased to £541/19/9.
The William Thomas Memorial Prize Fund decreased by £2/5/1 to £97/15/7 following the award of the prize to Mr. D.O. Glesson.
The Council Report was read by Mr. G.J. Shrimpton. Another excellent year was reported. The very successful summer meeting to ECLP Ltd., at St. Austell had been attended by 45 members and friends. The forthcoming summer meeting scheduled for 4th July would include visits to the new Mill at South Crofty and the dam under construction at Porth, near Newquay which had been described at the General Meeting on 24th March.
it was also reported that joint meetings had been held with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, the Institution of Production Engineers and the Royal Institute of Cornwall. There were no submissions for the William Thomas Memorial Prize.
The membership was as follows: 88 Members, 26 Associates, and four Subscribers.
The Council also noted the loss of Mr. M. Gregory and Mr. E. Furze both Members of long standing.
Elections Following the statutory ballot Mr. F.B. Michell was elected to be President for the 1959/60 and this was confirmed by the AGM. Mr J.H. Trounson was re-elected as Treasurer , Messrs. F. Hutchin and G. J. Shrimpton were reappointed as Joint Secretaries and Messrs. W.G. Eustice and G.F. P. Roberts re-appointed as Auditors.
Following the business the President invited Major B. Llewellyn to give his talk on “Shrinkage Stoping – Profit or problem?”.
The Ninth General Meeting held on 14th April heard a talk by Mr. J.P.R. Polkinghorne on “An Introduction to Chromatography”
A tenth General Meeting was held jointly with the Institution of Production Engineers on 21st May when Mr. R.J. Shaw of Messrs. Robertson Thain Ltd gave a talk on “Thermal Insulation”.
The Summer Meeting on 4th July made the planned visit to South Crofty and the new dam at Porth followed by tea at the Trelawny Hotel at Newquay after which Dr. Hosking handed the Chair over to the President-elect Mr. F.B. Michell who gave a short talk in which he spoke on the well known subject of the future of Cornish mining.
The first General Meeting on 30th September 1959 was the occasion for Mr. F.B. Michell’s Presidential Address on the subject of “Professional Training in Extractive and Mineral Industries”. The history of such training started with proposals by a Mr. John Taylor in 1829 which came to nothing although an experimental school had been set up in Truro in 1839. However the Royal School of Mines was established in 1851 and the Camborne Mining School was opened on 1859. The present system of professional training had developed from that start.
The second General Meeting on 23rd October was addressed by Mr. J. Symons on the subject of of “Shaft Sinking for the Collieries” and the third General Meeting on 20th November heard a paper by Mr. R.C.A. Hooper on “Current Mine Surveying Practice”. Both of these papers were published in the Transactions.
The fourth General Meeting on 29th January 1960 heard a paper by Mr. J.W. Jelbert who had been Chief Engineer of Basset Mines for 18 years speaking on “Reminiscences of a Mechanical Engineer”. It was very revealing of practices early on the 20th century and, in places, highly amusing. Mr Jelbert was unable to attend the meeting and the paper was read for him by Mr. J. H. Trounson which may explain why there was no record of any discussion which followed the talk.
The fifth General Meeting on 24th February heard Mr. J.P.W. Williams give a talk on the “ Blast Furnace Extraction of Zinc” for which he was later awarded the William Thomas Memorial Prize.
The sixth General Meeting on18th March was presented with a paper entitled: “Canada The Trend in its Mineral Development” by Professor N.E. Odell.
Annual General Meeting, 29th April 1960
The Meeting was chaired by Mr. L.G. Brown in the absence of the President and he invited Mr. F Hutchin to present the Financial Report. Mr. Hutchin reported that the Bank Balance on 1st January 1959 was £541/19/9. Income for the year was £114/0/4 including £92/15/6 from subscriptions and £17/2/1 in interest from the Trustee Savings Bank.
Expenditure was £158/9/8 which included the £60 Secretaries Salaries and £67/17/2 printing costs for Volume XII of the Transactions. The resulting loss of £44/9/4 over the year meant the Bank Balance on 31st December 1959 was £497/10/5.
The William Thomas Memorial Prize Fund increased by £2/12/8 to £100/14/3 since no prize had been awarded.
The Chairman then asked Mr Shrimpton to present the Council Report which made special mention of the success of the Summer Meeting. Attendance at the General Meetings had been excellent and there had been visitors at several of them. A paper presented by Mr. J.P. Williams on “The Blast Furnace Extraction of Zinc” was awarded the William Thomas Memorial Prize.
The Institute membership then stood at 84 Members, 24 Associates and 4 Subscribers. The deaths of of five members of long standing were noted.
The Council had decided that the Summer Meeting would be held on 2nd July 1960.
Following a ballot Mr. C.W. Walker had been elected President for the 1960/61 session and this was endorsed by the AGM. Mr. J.H. Trounson was once again re-elected as Treasurer and Messrs. G.E.P. Roberts and W.G. Eustice were re-appointed as auditors.
Following the formal business of the AGM the President invited Dr. K.F.G. Hosking to give has talk on the subject of “The Role of the Microscope in Mineral Dressing”.
All of the talks given during the year were printed in the Transactions, except for tithe one given following the AGM.
Summer Meeting 2nd July 1960.
46 members and and guests visited the the Hydraulic Tin Ltd mill at Bissoe and following lunch at the Half Way House Hotel at Rame Cross viewed the construction site of the new Drift Dam at Penzance.
After tea at the Tudor Cafe, Marazion, Mr. Michell presented the William Thomas Memorial Prize to Mr. J.P.W. Williams then handed over the chair to the President-elect Mr. C.W. Walker.
Mr. Walker reviewed some of the engineering developments in Cornwall during the past year including: completion of the Porth Dam, progress on the new Tamar Bridge and the fact that Falmouth Docks had berthed its largest tanker ever. He also mentioned developments at Holman Brothers Ltd. but expressed regret over the gradual closing down of the safety fuse factory at Tuckingmill and, once again commented on the lack of interest shown by successive British Governments in the metallic mining industry.
After this short break the day concluded with a visit to the Hayle Power station.