Cornish mining and its related industries generated huge fortunes for a minority of people involved in the industry.
Many landowners who held mineral rights benefited the most. The landowners usually made no contribution to the working mine but received a large share of the profits.
In early times the workings would be run by the miners themselves, with the landowners receiving a share of any profits. However as the workings evolved and the need for investment capital became more than the miners could raise, shares in the venture would be sold to fund the developments. Shareholders often ran banks, smelting houses, coal yards, and timber-importing companies, the mines provided them with extra income. Some mines should have closed as they repeatedly failed to make a profit, but were kept running by influential shareholders who were still profiting from their other interests in the mine.