Byline: Chris Nield
An 80 feet tall chimney stack, the last of three which had marked the copper mines at Cangai, dropped into a mound of bricks yesterday, when it was blasted down preparatory to new mining activities to take place at Cangai 30 miles from Grafton.
Built about 1901, and a monument to the skill of its bricklayers, the chimney stack dominated the beautiful valley which surrounds the scarred earth, mute testimony to previous workings.
A "Daily Examiner" reporter and photographer followed a four-wheel land rover along the Gwydir Highway to the Mann River Bridge, turning right into the Cangai Road where, fortunately, a Nymboida Shire grader was working. The road was in good shape apart from two swiftly running causeways.
High banks of debris pushed from the roadway near creek junctions were a reminder of the recent flood.
Coming through the hills and into the Cangai Valley, the stack, soon to disappear amid a cloud of dust and a resounding thunderclap of explosive noise which echoed around the hills stood out sharply against the landscape.
With the apparent casualness born of eight years' experience in handling explosives, Glen Shipman, field foreman for the consultative firm of Alex Rogers of Mining House, Coffs Harbour went about his hour long preparation to prepare and lay the charges to bring the chimney down. The job was done for North Coast Copper Mines.
With his assistant, Ian Bines, a miner and diamond driller formerly of Broken Hill, he stacked the four "bombs" within the oven cavity of the chimney, while the moments were recorded on film.
Mr. Shipman estimated the chimney would contain about 80 tons of bricks. The structure was built of three thicknesses.
Interest In History
He is interested in the history of Cangai, and is anxious to obtain photographs of the old mines and village.
The Cangai copper lode was discovered accidentally by J. Sellars while wallaby shooting in August 1901. His attention was caught by blue and green carbonates showing in a large block on the highest point of the outcrop.
From the first shaft sunk near the point of discovery, about 80 tons of oxidized ore were raised, yielding from 22 to 34 per cent.
Maclean and party discovered the western continuation of lode, taken up by P. Kritsch and party.
Corry and party took up the eastern extension. It was sold to Melbourne investors under the title of Cangai Copper-mining Company who extracted about 300 tons of ore, despatched to Newcastle and Melbourne. …