In 1844, one of the greatest copper
deposits in Europe was discovered near Morwellham.
To extract the ore a new company which became known
as Devon Great Consols was formed to mine the ore.
The mine was only 4 miles from Morwellham Quay
which meant that transportation was relatively
easy. At its peak in the later part of the 19th
century Devon Great Consols was both the largest
copper and arsenic producer in the world and was at
the cutting edge of ore recovery technology. As
copper began to run out, arsenic ore was mined
instead. This provided the deadly poison which was
used in insecticides and weed killers. It was once
said that there was enough arsenic stored on the
quayside at Morwellham to kill every man, woman, and
child in the world.
When Devon Great Consols eventually
ceased production in 1901 and was abandoned,
thousands of miners were forced to emigrate in order
to find work. The quays fell into disrepair, the
docks silted up and the place became almost
brief reworking in 1915 when
the mine was worked on a much smaller
scale for a number of minerals including copper,
arsenic, tin, and wolfram, the
mine closed for good in 1925.