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Friday, 5 October, 2001, 05:29 GMT 06:29 UK
Mine shaft discovery at school
Cusgarne School
There was extensive mining in the school's area
Children at a school in Cornwall have been moved from their classrooms as a mine shaft has opened up under their playground.

The large shaft was discovered at Cusgarne School, near Redruth, during building works.

The 76 youngsters on the school register have been continuing lessons in Redruth Community Centre.

The shaft is believed to be part of mine workings closed down in 1840.

South Crofty
Cornwall has 4,000 years of mining history
Headteacher Steve Brady said: "After investigation work it's become obvious that the shaft is more extensive than anybody originally anticipated.

"But everybody in the local community knows that there were quite extensive mine workings around here".

The building work was being carried out as part of a 500,000 programme under the government's Private Financing Initiative for 32 Cornish schools.

Shaft closure

The builders will now be drilling to a depth of 50 feet and filling the shaft with cement and water.

The work is expected to be completed next week when the children will move back into their classrooms.

The find has interested the school's pupils and presented them with a link to the area's mining past.

Once they return, the children plan to do a project on the mine workings that run underneath their school.

Mine re-opening

Cornwall has a 4,000 year history of mining minerals particularly tin. By the 19th century, the industry employed more than 20,000 people.

The last tin mine in the UK was South Crofty, near Camborne and Redruth in west Cornwall. It closed in 1998 because of falling world tin prices.

But last month, new owners were given permission to re-open the mine after a local company bought the redundant workings.

Baseresult Holdings Ltd hopes to create 200 jobs by re-opening the mine and keeping the heritage of Cornish tin-mining alive.

See also:

04 Sep 01 | Business
Tin mine cleared to re-open
09 Aug 01 | Education
Children asked to jump for science
02 Mar 01 | Business
Last UK tin mine reopens
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