This is the remains of the Klondyke Processing Mill, situated in the Crafnant Valley above Trefriw, which processed ore from the Pandora Mine near Llyn Geirionydd. Built in the 1900s, it saw little usage and was abandoned after having a succession of hopeful owners in the 1920s.
Lead ore was transported down to the Mill via a tramway and aerial ropeway situated across the valley to the right of the photo, so the buckets of ore arrived at the first floor of the Mill, where the two rusty girders can be seen. Must have been an impressive sight when it was working.
The ‘Klondyke’ Fraud – It seems that during the period 1918 to 1921, the Klondyke was the scene of a massive fraud. The story is related in some detail in Mines of the Gwydyr Forest, but briefly what happened was this. A certain Joseph Aspinall took over the mine in 1918 and claimed to have discovered a huge vein of silver. What he did was to clean the passages of dirt, purchase 20 tons of powdered lead concentrate and glue it onto the walls giving the impression that the entire passage passed through a huge vein of silver. He then bought parties up from London to view the vein and procure an investment in the venture. A mass of miners were employed who actually did no work, let alone any mining. Whenever Aspinall turned up with a viewing party, a hoot of his car horn triggered the miners to busy themselves around the premises – some guarding the adit with cudgels, others running around the place like ants on an ant hill. By the time he was rumbled, he managed to secure £166,000! He got 22 months in Prison.
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