looking down the abandoned shaft deep into the earth
On my hunt for zircon in the Bancroft area I managed to find this old mine that had reputedly unearthed some pretty interesting mineral specimens – many of which were said to be radioactive – some of which are reported to have been zircon. Being a gemmologist I was interested to see the crystals, by my experience zircon crystals are generally box shaped with 4 sided pyramids at either end. “A doubly terminated tetragonal prism,” as the lingo describes it.
From my book that is still as of yet unpublished I provide the following extract …
“In 1955 a pit known as the “Blue Rock Cerium Shaft” was sunk in the bush to the south of Tory Hill. It dropped down to 440 feet, with three levels at 100, 250 and 400 feet.
There is apparently an adit somewhere nearby that leads down to the 100-foot level but I was unable to find it. The No. 1 shaft is about a kilometer and a half to the north, it was 657 feet deep with 4 different levels. “Lead Ura Mines” which later became the “Rare Earth Mining Company” initially explored the No. 1 pit in 1948. No commercial production was ever drawn from either of the “Rare Earth” sites but the legacy of that unsuccessful enterprise still haunts the bush making for an exciting day of discovery.
James and I wandered around the hillside wondering how the mine had appeared and where the head frame was situated. Eastern Hemlock and cedar had shrouded the already decaying concrete abutments and we trod carefully through the waist-high bush not wanting to find ourselves plunging down a hidden pit into the bowels of the earth.
As it turned out a huge concrete slab capped the shaft. James pointed to the cast iron hoops set within. It suggested the option of future removal if the company so desired. There was a small opening at one edge of the concrete slab and I tossed a rock through it. The stone bounced and boomed for six seconds before I heard a great hollow splash”.