Old Stanley Copper Mine - Armagh

Monday, May 30, 2016 at 19:52

Member - Stephen L (Clare SA)


Nestled in a secluded gully in the Clare Hills, west of Clare and in the area known locally as Armagh lies the ruins of the old Stanley Copper Mine and the Mine Captains house that was constructed in 1872.

With other small mines in the local area and the price of Copper improving, section 1977, Hundred of Clare was up for sale and there were promising signs of copper ore that had been worked in the area. In 1871 a syndicate became interested in the prospect of a possible large mine being developed and by 1882 the Stanley Mining Company was formed. Work at the site commenced immediately and in a very short time, there was over £1000 of copper ore that had been mined and was waiting to be carted away.

Captain Dustan was appointed by the Board of Directors in charge of the mining operations and by the end of 1872, and as was the case in Burra, the Miners were Cornish, with 14 men working underground, and three men and six boys were sorting and bagging the ore on the surface and a new stone office and residence had been constructed for Captain Dunstan onsite, while underground there were tramways being constructed along the adit level to the ore floors. When the mine was in full production, it is believed that there were 36 people employed on the site.

Tenders were then called for the transportation of the ore to the tramways terminus at Hoyelton, but because all local drays were employed in the Summer Harvest of grain, the ore could not be transported, but on the positive side, the price of copper had trippled, so there then £1000 value of copper was now worth £3000 by February 1873.

As quick as the price of copper ore rose, so did the price quickly drop and in August 1874, the mine activities were abruptly ended, due mainly to the unreliable delivery of the worded ore to the sea port at Port Wakefield. For a number of months, claims were let to miners at Wallaroo, but the results were not encouraging. After many months of uncertainly, the mine was official wound up in February 1875 and the mine advertised for sale in June 1876.


In 1899 a new mining syndicate was formed, this time it was called the Stanley Copper Mining Company and mining commenced straight away. This time transport of the ore was not going to be a problem as it was before, as instead of the long slow dray trip to Hoyelton, it could be taken down a steady incline to Blyth, where it was then sent by rail to the Wallaroos smelters. During this time, more new shafts and drives were made. This new Syndicate was short lived and the last attempts to extract copper from the mines was during 1909 and 1910 by the then Blyth Coper and Minerals Company. In total, there was more than 1000 tons of copper ore extracted from this very small mine site, and on the 29th September 1952, a geological survey of the mine site was undertaken by Geologist, ML Wade.
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