• Steeple Woods

Glossary of mining terms

Don't know your Killas from your Stope? Here's all you need to know about historic mining terms but were too afraid to ask!

  • LODE: The name given to a mineral-bearing vein. These usually occur in narrow fault fissures, they are near vertical or steeply dipping or inclined, and they are discordant with the surrounding country rock.

  • KILLAS: The Comish mining term for the altered, usually bedded sedimentary rocks or clay-slates and siltstones which surround the granitic rocks of the peninsula.

  • CROP OUT: The surface or near-surface (buried beneath superficial deposits) position where a lode, fault or other geological feature crops out at surface or in the bedrock surface.

  • SETT: An area of ground leased for mining or mining-related purposes.

  • WHEAL/HUEL OR BAL: Various terms applied to a mine or mineral working.

  • LEVEL / DRIVE: A near horizontal tunnel usually driven along die lengfn of a mineral lode. Commonly measured in fathoms below surface or Adit Level.

  • ADIT: An access level driven from low ground and beneath high ground for the principal purpose of draining and/ or exploring a mine.

  • SHAFT: The vertical, near-vertical or inclined main access to mineworkings often formerly timber-lined and equipped for pumping, winding etc. Abandoned shafts (often unrecorded) comprise the main hazard to surface stability.

  • STOPE: This is the mineworking place along a lode and between shafts or levels, or between the top level and surface. It may be left as a slot-shaped cavity (air or water- filled), or may be partially or wholly backfilled with minewaste or other debris. These comprise a significant hazard to surface stability when found close to or breaking through to the surface. They are sometimes found continuing in depth from the bottom of openworks.

  • GUNNIS: This is the name given for the mined out cavity left once stoping has taken place. If the deposit has been worked on an inclined plane, the undercut rock would be called the hanging-wall‘, whilst the other wall was referred to as the 'footwall'.