Craddock Moor Mine, St. Cleer, Liskeard, Cornwall, UK
Partly extracted from the February 2008 issue of the PMMC Journal.
Readers will know of Richard de Nul from the item that appeared in the last edition of the PMMC Journal. Although a native and resident of Belgium, Richard is a frequent visitor to England (and also to Cornwall).
On his last visit in September 2007, he invited PMMC members to join him on an impromptu visit to Craddock Moor. After a few ‘phone calls to some likely suspects, a group assembled at Minions to meet Richard and his friend, fellow Belgian enthusiast Paul de Bondt. Richard produced much relevant documentation regarding the local mines and minerals, but with the year drawing to a close, daylight was in short supply and not to be wasted! After a short walk the party was shown two adits by Geof Purcell, and much speculation ensued as to why one had been driven at such a shallow level (1).
Carrying on, the recently conserved stack and associated remains were examined before the group reached the engine house that appears in H.G.Ordish’s book. The 1957 photo was compared with the site as it is today, complete with the pond in the foreground (2).
Returning to the dumps near the stack (3), the search began for Craddock Moor Mine’s rarer minerals, which include fluorapatite, langite, chrysocolla and anatase. Richard and Paul had soon dug a hole that any Cornishman would be proud of, although several small pieces of cassiterite (4) did turn up and Richard tried hard to convince everyone (and himself!) that he’d found fluorapatite (5).
Fluorapatite is a first occurrence for the Bodmin Granite and is analysed and confirmed by Uwe Kolitsh (University of Vienna). Confusion may arise with the other rare mineral phenacite which has also been described from the Cheesewring Quarry by Arthur Russell back in 1910. As fluorapatite and phenacite appear under the same circumstances, with the same associations and due to the small amount (20 specimens) that were found at that time, a reinvestigation on these phenacites with modern techniques may not be a bad idea.
I think it's safe to say that nobody went home with empty-handed and that among cassiterite, fluorite, quartz, scorodite, pharmacosiderite, langite, chlorite and arsenopyrite were found. A inventory of minerals can be found at the mineralogical database Mindat.
As darkness started to descend (6) and hypothermia began to set in, the party de-camped to the Cheesewring Hotel, when another member (I’m only here for the beer!”) joined the trip.
The day’s events were much enjoyed by all and Richard is to be congratulated on his knowledge of Cornish mines and minerals as well as thanked for leading the trip.