stoper drilling a stope with a compressed air drill

The stoper was responsible for extracting the minerals from the lode.

To begin a stope, stopers drilled a series of vertical 6ft holes above their heads, then charged and exploded them to create a chamber in the roof. Working in pairs, they had to make their way up to eventually meet the level above. 

Then, the stopers drilled several holes into the rock in front of them, on the level using the stoping drill. In earlier times they used the “underhand method” of drilling beneath their feet, making their way downwards.  Later, they used the “overhand method”, drilling above their heads and charging the holes with explosives to blast the lode out. This left a pile of broken rock.

The next day the stoper watered down the broken rock to damp down any dust, and barred down any loose ground or rock. This was very important for the safety of the miners.

Every 20ft (6 metres) the stopers put 2 more rises up. After climbing up the rise, they then put up a new drilling platform on the pile of rocks. Using the machine horizontally, they connected the rises, creating a new tunnel above the existing level. They then repeated the process of drilling and blasting, which continued the creation of a stope.


Photograph reproduced with the kind permission of Chexe Brown held by the Geevor Archive

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Comment left by Jan Sominka on 2010-05-13 19:33:37

Just noticed the photograph in the stoping section. Can you confirm if this is Wawrzyniec Sominka (Johnny), my father. Thanks Jan GEEVOR REPLY......... yes , this is johnny, if you would like a copy of the photo please contact Nick Thomas at Geevor Tin Mine on 01736 788662. We also have information on ..Lucia Zbyszek Sominka

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