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Report - Rogerley Fluorspar Mine, Weardale

Discussion in 'Mines and Quarries' started by caiman, Apr 30, 2009.

  1. caiman

    caiman 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

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    A different Weardale fluorspar mine - and what is more it is still in operation. Visit and pics August 2008 but it will not have changed much.

    Rogerley mine is unique in the UK as it is a commercial operation that mines mineral specimens for the collectors market. It is also the last working fluorspar mine in the Pennine orefield. It is worked in the summer only, usually starting in mid June and finishing at the end of August when the mineral specimens are shipped off to the USA.

    The mine is located in the abandoned Rogerley limestone quarry between Frosterley and Stanhope. It was first opened in the 1970s by two local collectors but since 1999 has been owned by UK Mining Ventures which itself is an American company. During the summer, the mine is usually worked by two Americans collecting samples and a former Grove Rake miner (and, when I was there, his daughter) doing the actual mine development and maintenance work including drilling, mucking and timbering.

    Rogerley is a very small mine in comparison with Grove Rake for example, but it uses tunnelling methods that were common in the district up until the end of large scale mining. The tunnels are developed by drilling and blasting using compressed air jackleg drills and the broken rock is loaded using an Eimco rocker shovel into a minecar which is trammed to surface using a battery loco. The tunnel is supported using timbers in the old style. Once a new area is opened up, the fluorspar crystals are collected by hand, usually as large pieces which are sawn up before cleaning and packing.


    The mine entrance is half way up the side of the quarry.

    [​IMG]

    It would not be a real mine unless there was some scrap equipment lying around - including here two Eimco 12B rocker shovels.

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    The surface working area is very small indeed: waste tip on the right, specimen cutting on the left.

    [​IMG]

    Entrance to the mine.

    [​IMG]

    Eimco 12B rocker shovel. This may be the last one in commercial use in the UK.

    [​IMG]

    Clayton battery locomotive.

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    The mine is not particularly stable and so needs a lot of timbered support.

    [​IMG]

    Fluorspar crystals.

    [​IMG]
     

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