The End

"the end  16/2/90" spraypainted on a locker in the dry

In October 1985 there was a sudden collapse in the price of tin.  

The tin price dropped from around £10,000 per tonne to just £3,400, caused by the collapse of the International Tin Council which regulated tin prices. As tin prices dropped, the costs of mining tin began to outweigh the profits.The average price needed to break even was around £6500 a tonne. Without financial assistance no Cornish tin producer could survive such a price drop.

To try and survive the crash in the price of tin, the miners took a pay cut and worked ten Saturdays without pay. Also, the men worked longer shifts for the same pay to produce more tin.

Cornish mining companies began to go out of business one by one, Geevor and other mines looked to the Department of Trade and Industry for financial support. The Department’s offer was not enough to save Geevor. The miners presented petitions to Downing Street and marched in London and held public collections, but despite their efforts, Geevor closed in April in a blaze of publicity, and raw emotion. Around 380 jobs were lost.


Photograph reproduced with the kind permission of the Geevor Archive


K Gilbert (Financial Times 7th Dec 1985) - ‘If the mine has to close this place will be a ghost town. There’s nothing here apart from tin’. K Gilbert was Managing Director

D Alford (Western Morning News) – ‘If the tin mines shut, it will be the end of places like St Just and Pendeen because they will just become ghost towns’

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Rescue plans

Click to see a larger version of this imageWheal Jane miners march in london to prevent the mine pumps being turned off.

The price of tin began to pick up in 1987; the mine opened once again. 

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1991 Final Closure

Click to see a larger version of this imageloco wagons rusting on the scrapheap

In May 1991, with no signs of improvement in the price of tin, the main pumps keeping the mine dry were finally switched off.   

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