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Trenwith Mine  -  St Ives

Ordinance Survey Landranger map 203 - Grid ref SW 514-401Trenwith mine

The Trenwith mine is located in St Ives and is now covered by a car/coach park. There are still some samples to be had though. We found samples on the area of rough ground by the side of the road which leads out of the car park (just to the left of the picture above).

In general, the mine spoils (rocks form the mines) are located on the slope from the car park to the lower part of St Ives (just beyond and down from the line of hedge at the bottom of the tarmac area that can be seen in the picture above). Got that!

Our first visit in summer 2001 was unsuccessful due to the LARGE volume of toffee purchasing tourists and their cars in the area making exploration impossible. The photo above was taken in April 2002 when it was much quieter.

Trenwith Mine, above St Ives, produced 694 tons of pitchblende and other ores over the period 1911 to 1917. Recovery of the ore was mainly from the dumps, where it had been discarded as worthless because it had originally been confused with black copper ore. Radium, discovered by Marie Curie, was first isolated by her from pitchblende from Trenwith Mine. The dumps were a plentiful source of stone for local streets and houses. Now they provide hard core for the large car park that occupies the mine site (above). One recent visitor was quite alarmed when he found several rocks used in the car park walls to be radioactive, claiming that the whole area should be cleared.

A more detailed description of the history of Trenwith mine is at Dangerous Laboratories