Copper ores are mostly smelted in South Wales, near Swansea, being carried there on account of the great quantity of coal required. There is however one copper smelting establishment on the northern coast of Cornwall.
The sale of tin ores is not very well conducted, as the miner is obliged to carry them to the smelting-house where they are assayed, and the parties make the best bargain they can.
The smelting copper ores is a much more difficult operation than that of tin, and requires a very expensive establishment and the investment of an immense capital.
There are about 15 copper companies, and they have all agents and assay officers in Cornwall; there is a weekly meeting at some place near the great mines, called a ticketing, where all the agents of the copper companies attend. At these ticketing the ores of different mines allotted in suitable parcels are offered for sale.
Due notice having been given of the ores intended to be sold on a particular day, an agent of the smelting companies attends at the mine some time before the day of sale to take samples of the different parcels. The ores are prepared for this purpose by being placed in regular heaps called doles, each lot of ore being equally and carefully divided into six doles. One of them is fixed on by the buyers' agent, which after being well turned over and accurately mixed, is rounded into a regular form, and then a trench is cut through the middle, from the sides of which the sampler scrapes uniformly a certain quantity. A portion of this is then taken, bruised and sifted, and from it a sufficient number of samples are packed up in bags, which are carefully sealed and sent to the assay masters of all the copper companies.
The buyers are thus furnished with the exact produce of fine copper in each parcel which will be submitted for sale at the ticket-