Glossary of Mining Terms
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A Glossary of Cornish Dressing Terms


Antimony: metal used for hardening alloys. Used in domestic pewter, typeface and bells.
Bucking: method of breaking cobbed copper or lead ore down to fine granules and powder.
Bucking iron: short handled hammer with a flat face.
Bucking plate: cast iron anvil on which copper or lead ores are bucked.
Buddle; rectangular or round frame for separating fine ores from waste.
Buddling; one of the sedimentation techniques for separating ore from waste.
Burning house: see Calciner.
Calciner: furnace for roasting ore to remove arsenic.
Captain: mine overseer, origin of word uncertain. In Cornish mines captains sometimes given separate areas of responsibility, i.e. underground captain, surface captain etc.
China Clay (kaolin): produced when granite begins to de-nature. Used as a filler in paper or textiles, as scouring powder, and in the manufacture of porcelain.
Cobalt: used to manufacture bright blue pigment used in paints, enamels and porcelain. Also used in alloys, especially for its magnetic properties.
Cobbing: breaking spalled copper or lead ore into nut sized small pieces, to separate waste.
Cobbing hammer: short handled hammer with pointed end.
Cost book: accounts ledger for mine or clay works.
Counthouse: mine office.
Croust: mid-day break (or the food eaten in this break).
Dole: a precisely measured quantity of dressed ore, usually in laid with a circular base and a flat top.
Framing: see Racking.
Griddling: see sieving.
Jigging: sieving fine ores under water, to raise light waste to the top. Initially done by hand.
Kibble: large iron or steel bucket for bringing ore up from mine.
Kieve: vat or large barrel for washing ore.
Limp: semi-circular flat board used for skimming off waste from sedimented ore in the kieve; originally made of wood, sometimes shod with iron on the circular edge, latterly made of iron.
Manganese: used in producing chlorine based bleach and for hardening alloys.
Mundic: iron pyrites, arsenic or sulphur waste from ore dressing.
Nickel: a component of electroplating alloys, and also used in paint pigments.
Picking: removing good quality pieces of ore and rejecting waste, leaving mixed material to be processed further.
Racking (framing): the finest sedimentation technique to separate tin ore from waste.
Racking frame: large rectangular frame, built on the slant which is used to separate very fine tin particles from fine waste, using running water.
Sampling: period of time during which usual dressing activities are suspended, in order for dressed ore to be carefully mixed, and weighed out into doles ready for assaying and market.
Sieving (griddling): removing larger pieces using a sieve, usually during picking or bucking, in order to reprocess.
Slimes: the fine particles of tin and waste held in suspension, after stamping tin ore.
Spalling: breaking of larger rock pieces from the mine into suitable size for going on to the stamps (tin) or to the crushers or for cobbing (copper).
Spalling hammer: long handled, blunt ended hammer for breaking large lumps of rock.
Stamps: water or steam-powered iron-shod beams, for pounding tin or poor grade copper.
Surface Captain: mine officer responsible for the dressing floors.
Tozing (tossing, towsing): settling fine tin ore in water-filled kieves, by knocking the side of the barrel, until a stratified mass of fine ore had formed.
Trunking: one of several sedimentation processes in the washing of tin slimes.
Vanning: assessing tin content of ore by eye, using a vanning shovel and water.
Wolfram: source of tungsten, for super-hardening steel.



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