On Friday, the Lower Sixth Geologists visited Wheal Jane, just 15 minutes from school in the Carnon Valley. The group were met by Old Truronian Bryony Halliday ( Co 11), who provided an overview of the mine’s operational history. The group also learned about the 1992 acid mine drainage incident that caused significant pollution of the Carnon and Fal Rivers. Visiting during the Festival of Compassion made this part of the visit particularly pertinent, as the group could consider the environmental implications of mining, how the mine water treatment plant established following that event prevents future pollution, and the strategies being implemented to progressively remediate the environment.
The site is now home to the Wheal Jane Earth Science Park, and the group visited several companies based there to gain insight into a range of potential careers within the wider Earth Science industry.
Visiting the Wheal Jane Laboratory, they met Clifford Rice, Chief Chemist, who gave a tour of their analysis labs, which undertake mineral analysis for clients across the globe. He also performed a live demonstration of smelting Cornish tin. Laura W commented that this was a particular highlight of the trip and that she valued the “amount of knowledge that Clifford shared from over 40 years in the Cornish mining industry”.
The group also visited UK Remediation, which uses bioremediation strategies to remove pollutants from contaminated land. At Wardell Armstrong, they had a tour of the mineral processing facilities, which allows the viability of mining projects to be determined and the consideration of waste disposal throughout the process.
We are grateful to the companies hosting the group today for providing this rare insight into potential careers and the importance of demonstrating compassion for the environment in such a wide range of activities.