Login Register

Graduates of school of hard rocks

By West Briton  |  Posted: April 05, 2012

Comments (0)

TWO HUNDRED students from all over the world came together near Camborne to take part in the World Mining Games.

They may have spoken different languages, but they shared a passion to keep the traditional skills of hard rock mining alive.

Thirty eight teams from Camborne School of Mines (CSM), Australia, New Zealand, United States, Canada, Germany and Holland, competed in mining challenges at King Edward Mine Museum, Troon, armed with hammers, shovels and air drills over the weekend.

The Swede saw was a race to cut through a 6in by 6in piece of timber using a bow saw.

Gold panning required teams to recover small bits of metal from watery silt.

Strength and hand/eye-coordination were the key skills in the hand steeling – drilling into a concrete block using just a hammer and chisel.


Hand mucking was a test of strength and endurance, filling an empty ore cart with muck using shovels and pushing it along a length of track.

The Track stand challenged competitors to lay and disassemble a piece of rail track as quickly as possible.

Speed and precision were key in the jackleg drilling, making as many holes as possible in three minutes using a Holman's air drill.

And surveying challenged the students to plot the coordinates of a location underground.

Third year CSM mining student Chris Carlson said: "The real aim of the competition is to keep these old skills alive.

"Some of the teams take it really seriously. The teams from USA and Australia train for two hours a day, five times a week.

"CSM have been training hard too, but I don't think we expect to beat the big teams."

The International Mining Games began in 1978 in memory of 91 miners killed in the Sunshine Mine Disaster in the USA in 1972. They take place every year, this being the first ever in Cornwall.

The women's and mixed team events were held on Saturday and men's on Sunday.

Watching on Sunday morning was George Wilson, former secretary of the Trevithick Society and a member of Carn Brea Mining Society, who said: "I'm surprised how many people there are here today, some have come a very long way.

"The Trevithick Society is about this sort of thing. We do our best to preserve the artefacts, they are trying to preserve the skills.

"This is just how miners would have worked many years ago, although they wouldn't have worked at this speed."

Mike Osman, in charge of the hand steeling challenge with fellow former miner Mark Kaczmarek, said: "It's good that these traditional skills are being kept alive. The students are really enthusiastic."

Mr Kaczmarek said: "I worked at South Crofty for 17 years and it was my job to use these air drills.

"Some students picked up an air drill for the first time at the practice day on Friday. It's been a real challenge for them.

Tony Brooks, a member of the Friends of King Edward Mine, added: "It's a privilege to host these games."


Overall: men – 1, Western Australia School of Mines (WASM) A; 2, Missouri A; 3, WASM B; women – 1, Missouri B; 2, WASM; 3, Missouri A; mixed – 1, Colorado; 2, Montana; 3, South Dakota.

Hand mucking: men – 1, WASM A; 2, Virginia Tech; 3, Missouri; women – Missouri B; Camborne School of Mines; 3, WASM; mixed – 1, Colorado; 2, Penn State; 3, Montana.

Surveying: men – 1, CSM A; 2, Virginia Tech; 3, Missouri A; women - 1, WASM; 2, Missouri B; 3, Missouri A; mixed - 1, Mackay; 2, Arizona; 3, Queensland.

Hand steeling: men – WASM A; 2, Missouri A; 3, South Dakota; women – 1, WASM; 2, Missouri B; 3, Missouri A; mixed - 1, Colorado; 2, Mackay; 3, South Dakota.

Track stand: men – 1, WASM A; 2, WASM B; 3, Missouri A and Virginia Tech; women – 1, Missouri B; 2, CSM; 3, Missouri A; mixed – 1, Montana; 2, Colorado; 3, Mackay.

Swede saw: men – 1, Missouri A; 2, Virginia Tech; 3, Colorado; women – 1, Missouri A; 2, Missouri B; 3, WASM; mixed - 1, Montana; 2, Colorado; 3, South Dakota.

Gold panning: men – 1, South Dakota; 2, WASM A; 3, Montana; women – 1, WASM; 2, Missouri B; 3, Missouri A; mixed - 1, WASM Wallabies; 2, Delft; 3, Colorado.

Air leg drilling: men – 1, Montana; 2, Missouri A; 3, WASM A; women – 1, Missouri A; 2, WASM; 3, Missouri B; mixed – 1, Montana; 2, Colorado; 3, Penn State.

Read more from West Briton

Do you have something to say? Leave your comment here...

max 4000 characters
  • 1newlyn  |  April 05 2012, 7:43AM

    Looking at the results CSM need to up their game somewhat !!! Or did they not enter teams for all events ???

    Rate   -1