The greatest era of mining in Cornwall was the early 19th century, when Cornwall became the world’s leading supplier of copper.
By around 1860 overseas suppliers had taken over, and tin became Cornwall’s most important metal export. Many copper mines became tin mines. This was partly because the tin is often found at deeper levels of the same mineral lodes and as the miners worked deeper, better tin sources were discovered. Over the years, the ever-changing fortunes of the mining industry brought great prosperity for some, but great poverty for many others.