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Da Yooper's Guide to Copper Country


Mining as a specific field of work has terminology of it's own. Often colorful and descriptive, many of these mining terms are very ancient in orgin and were in use long before mining started in Michigan. Most mining terminology of course, followed the Cousin Jacks from England and were quickly adopted into the Michigan Copper Country speech. The man with the most blasphemus speech of course was Sam Hill,reputed to be one of the most colorful figures of the Copper Country in the late 1800s.

Mining Glossary

Da Yooper's Index

Current Auctions
In the rough Native Copper
Polished Native Copper
Beautiful Display Specimen

Rocks & Minerals

Da Yooper's Guide to

Michigan Diamonds

Michigan Datolite


Da Yooper's Guide to

Da Yooper's Links to

Keweenaw Locations

Adit - mine entrance driven straight into a hill. Normally at a slight upward angle to provide drainage.

Agent - Top management at a mine, reporting to the board of directers only.

Captain - head of a team of miners.

Collar - is the area around a shaft or adit opening that is reinforced to prevent caving and sometimes to hold back surface water.

Cousin Jack - is an experienced miner from Cornwall England who normally had a cousin in England who needed work.

Cribbing - logs or beams used to hold back loose rock.

Crosscut - is an excavation at an angle to an ore body for ventilation of work purposes.

Drift - cut following a vein, can go left, right, up or down.

Exploration Trench - excavation dug to find or follow a vein near the surface.

Exploration Pit - excavation dug to find a vein near the surface.

Jigging Table - is a vibrating table with different size screens set on an incline used to sort ore after passing through the stamp mill.

Kibble - a barrel or bucket used to raise ore from the mine. Usually by a whim.

Level - horizontal cut in a mine. Usually between shafts to provide air and access to ore bodies for stoping.

Man Engine - two ladders side by side and operated by a cam. The minor stood on one ladder until it reached its highest level then stepped over to the ladder at its lowest point. Thus allowing ascending or decending without the necessity of climbing.

Mass - A large piece of Pure copper with no rock attached and needing no processing as an ore.

Milling - is the process of further reducing the ore in size by grinding it in ball mills.

Pillar - is an area of the original ore body left to hold up the ceiling in a stope.

Pocket - is an exceptionaly rich area of ore.

Poor rock - Rock with little or no copper values. Also called trap rock.

Poor rock pile\plain \fs20 - where rock removed from a mine was dumped. Often called a mine dump or tailings.

Prehistoric pits - were excavated by a race of unknown miners beteen 1,000 and 17,000 years ago. Most of the mines located are an extrnsion of these pits.\

Rise - is an opening driven upward from a level.

Rockhouse - Where rock was sorted prepratory to stamping.

Sands - What is left after the ore has been processed by the milling and run over the jigging tables.

Shaft - vertical entrance to a mine.

Skip - was a car or train on tracks for moving ore or poor rock in the mine or removing it from the mine. Different methods were used to power a skip.

Stamp mill - Where the rock was shattered so the copper could be seperated.

Stope - is an area between levels from which the ore has been removed.

Subcaptains - were in charge of a team of miners in a large mine under a captain.\

Supervisors - were normally in charge of surface operations or underground work. Reports to the agent.

Tailings - The poor rock or sand left after the copper has been removed.

Timberman - shored the mine using wood or rock.

Tram - Same as skip above.

Trammer - loaded ore underground into skips or tram cars.

Winze - a shaft that does not start at ground level.

Whim - a round drum with a rope around it running into the mine. Often horse powered in the early days, it provided a way to drain the mine and to raise the ore and poor rock.