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A Preliminary Survey

By University College of the South West, Exeter - 1947.

Sample text :-

' Developments in prospecting and reopening continued with a generally rising price through 1925 and 1926, with an accompanying absorption of labour, to give an average of 2,690 miners for 1926. East Pool, South Crofty, Geevor, Levant and Tincroft continued to supply the major percentage of the total annual outputs. These mines held the lead —producing 89 per cent of the whole output —in 1927, and several mines in Cornwall re-entered the list together with Bedford United and Devon Consols in Devonshire, whereby the employment figure was raised to 3,170.

In 1928 there were fourteen operative mines, led by East Pool, South Crofty, Geevor, Levant and Tresavean, though the last-named ceased production during the year. Development continued and several additional mines were listed as producers. The number of miners (including some 289 stream-workers) reached 3,269, while the total output had practically risen to that of 1920 (4,844, as against 4,900 tons), representing some 2,361 tons of metal. World production now exceeded consumption, and the tonnage price by the end of 1929 had fallen by £50 (from £227 to £177). Nevertheless, this year witnessed the highest output since the World War - 5,640 tons. Employment, however, declined slightly, and though certain developments were continued, operations either ceased or were suspended at some mines, e.g. Dolcoath on the Roslcear group. World-wide efforts were made to restrict production but the price fell rapidly in 1930. By the end of 1930 only one mine remained in production - East Pool and Agar - and the number of employed workers fell to an average of 1,878 for the year. Despite this, production for the year remained fairly high—4,146 tons of black tin with about 60 per cent metallic content. Supply restrictions were agreed to by Bolivia, the Netherlands, East Indies, Nigeria and Malaya; in 1931 Siam joined in the agreement and a system of export quotas was arranged. Surplus production thus came under the control of an International Tin Pool, while a project for research to encourage future development was approved. For Cornwall this was a very low year despite a controlled price, and an average of only 426 miners reflects the magnitude of the slump - further emphasised by a drop in the year's production to the lowest level since 1922, viz. 684 tons black tin.

Vigorous action was taken by the International Tin Committee in 1932. Quotas were reduced and research directed towards meeting the threat to tin alloys presented by other minerals. Output (2,026 tons) and employment (739 workers) rose largely as a result of world consumption exceeding production. The improvement was maintained throughout 1933 and 1934. At the opening of the latter year a new three-year agreement, providing for compulsory restriction, was put into operation, with the Belgian Congo, French Indo-China and Portugal as new signatories. The table which follows summarises the general situation in Devon and Cornwall during the period coveredby this arrangement.... '

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