Shaft surveying

What is this research?

In early 2023, the DDC team will be surveying mineshafts in Cornwall. This will include water samples (to assess geochemistry), pressure readings, and visual and sonar inspections of these underground environments. This research has been co-created with regional businesses that are eligible for DDC support (i.e. SMEs with a base in Cornwall and Isles of Scilly). Workshops are planned for the data collection stage and the digital integration stage within the DDC Hub and Visualisation Suite.

What is the purpose of this research?

The research will generate important new open access methodologies and datasets for usage by businesses based in the region, to identify the mineralisation and geothermal potential of areas such as Camborne, Pool, Illogan and Redruth (CPIR). It will also generate knowledge about the chemical properties of minewater (i.e. that in abandoned mines) and therefore how minewater might best be utilised and/or treated. It will significantly increase the richness of the datasets available for specific areas in the region and inform future business opportunities and research directions. Businesses eligible for DDC support can use the data outputs from this work package and visualisations to spark ideas, innovate and develop new technologies and services.

How will this research be undertaken?

Surveying will investigate the geochemical and geothermal properties of areas in Cornwall identified as having high mineral prospectivity and/or geothermal energy potential, e.g. the temperature of subsurface minewater at different depths, pressure, conductivity, pH. The Camborne, Pool, Illogan and Redruth (CPIR) urban area is of particular interest in this study.

Data outputs will be available for public access via and in the DDC Visualisation Suite, publicised in news pieces on the DDC website, LinkedIn, Twitter, and will feature in the DDC Digital Assets Catalogue in addition to marketing materials.

How is the survey going to be undertaken?

Two geologists will work together collecting samples and will drive to the closest accessible location to the sampling point, which will be agreed in advance with the landowner and tenant. The samples are 10 m apart and the traverses are generally spaced every 100 m in the areas of interest. Small diameter holes to a maximum depth of around 70 cm, will be dug using a petrol-powered auger (Figure 2). A sample of soil will be taken from the bottom of the hole and shipped to an accredited laboratory for geochemical analysis. Once analysed, the data will be made available through DDC’s visualisation suite.


Contact Us

Please do get in contact with the team if you have any interest in, or queries about, this research at

What is DDC?

Deep Digital Cornwall (DDC) is a research project led by the Camborne School of Mines and the Institute for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence at the University of Exeter (UoE). DDC is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), in turn managed by the UK Government Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC).

The aim of the Deep Digital project is to create a world-leading cluster of research-active, highly innovative businesses applying digital solutions to a wide range of business opportunities connected to the underground including mining, geothermal, civil engineering, environmental, surveying, water resources, planning and permitting, heritage, tourism. The project’s delivery partners are conducting research for regional businesses to engage with, use and access, with the aim of stimulating business development opportunities and economic growth in the region.

What is University of Exeter’s relationship with DDC?

University of Exeter is the lead partner and grant recipient for DDC. Along with the project’s delivery partners Cornish Lithium, Cornwall Resources and South West Centre for Excellence in Satellite Applications. Academic staff and researchers support regional businesses in the development of research projects that will generate new products and services for these businesses. The University was also approved to conduct new research to generate open data (i.e. publicly accessible datasets) in October 2022. This research is one of those research studies.