View Full Version : Carrock Wolfram Mine, Cumbria 8/8/08

26-10-2008, 10:20 PM
Carrock Wolfram mine is the only site in the only wolframite mine in cumbria and is in fact the only location outside of Devon and Cornwall where Wolframite can be found in the UK. Wolframite is the prime mineral used in the production of Tungsten one of the toughest metals which also is the metal with the highest melting point. Although the mineral occurs in tiny amounts withing the country rock at Carrock there was still enough for the mine to become the only mine in the country worked solely for the extraction of Wolframite.

At the begining of the century wolframite was a rare and valuable mineral used in the production of electric lightbulb filements and for stenthening steel tools. The mine is located in Grainsgill where three wolframite veins are exposed in the steam bed. Mining first occured in Grainsgill in the 1870's extracting lead at which time the wolfram had been dismissed as worthless, but by 1900 exctraction of wolfram had become a very worth while venture. Extraction commenced in what would become known as the Harding Vein, but By 1904 the mine was in finacial trouble. The german company of William Henry Boss and Frederick Boehm bought into the failing mine, after which the majority of the mine's wolfram was exported to the continent where it was used in the expanding German armaments industry to harden armour plate and Artillery shells. The mining company went into liquidation in 1913 but the strategic importance of Wolframite lead to the creation of the Carrock Mining Syndicate which was partially government financed to develope and work the mine, during the course of WWI 14,000 tons of ore were mined for use primarily in the armaments industry.

After the end of the first world war in 1918 the wolfram market collapsed as goverments throughout europe disposed of their strategic stock piles of tunsten. Interest was expressed in opening the mine again during the 2nd World War and the Korean War but to Wolframite was extracted. THe mine reopend commercially in 1976 when the use of tungsten in Cathode Ray Tubes lead to souring world prices but the market collapsed again in 1982 and the mine closed for final time. For along period after its closure the mine was kept on a care and maintence basis with the MOD retaining an active interest in the site but the end of the cold war has left the mine abandoned and unlikely to reopen.

Visited as part of Darkplaces Big Bash 09 with Walrus, Darkosky, J, and Ferrett. Carrock is a very pretty little mine with more ore hoppers than you can shake a stick at. The mine consists of a number of passages which run below the mineral veins. As the mineral is extracted from the vein a artifical cavern called a stope is created In carrock these extend above the the passage ways along the length of the mineral veins. At the floor of the stope small shafts are created which open onto wooden funnels attached to ore hoppers in the passage bellow so that minerals extracted in the stope fall down into the hoppers so that tubs can be loaded. The stopes are accessed by workes from long ladders extending up from the passage ways some are over 100' tall and in some places are secured to the stope walls by bell wire alone. Unfortunatley my camera took a dip half way through the trip so i have no photos of the ladders and the stopes :(

Passage way

Looking towards the Sludge Dam

Sludge dam beyond this the mine workings were back filled with tons of sludge.

A small working adjacent to the main passageway

Quartz Vein

3 Quartz Veins runn in the roof of one of main passageways

Ore Hoppers in the passageway would have loaded tubs with mineral ore dropping from the stope above.

Ore Hopper still with some ore in place.



A crap view up into the stope doesnt capture how tall the stopes are.




Airhoses for the compressed air powered drills still float on the surface leading towards the workings.


26-10-2008, 10:52 PM
Awesome photographs and lovely lighting on them. Love that Reserve Explosive Station door! Nice work mate.