Background to the non-coal mining plans

Force Crag Mine, Braithwaite, Cumbria. P005055

The Raasay Ironstone Mine, Isle of Raasay. P000038

Mining has occurred in Great Britain since approximately 2700 BC. A diverse range of minerals has been extracted by underground mining, ranging from industrial minerals such as limestone through to precious metals like gold. Plans, sections and shaft information exist, recording many of these workings. However, with the exception of coal mining, there has been no co-ordinated effort to catalogue and create a national database of these records. A variety of collections, catalogues and indexes exist in disparate public and private hands but individually, these cover only parts of the total holding (thought to be in excess of 40 000 documents).

The voids caused by underground mining activity may pose a potential hazard to both life and assets, and the risk of ground movement can reduce property values. Mineral workings and associated spoil can frequently cause a pollution hazard. Mining records can provide important cultural information on the distribution and past extraction of mineral resources and are a key source of information for geological surveying and scientific research. However, safety, the risk to health, the physical threat to property and the real or perceived impact on property values are the most compelling reasons for action to establish a coherent national database of non-coal mine plans.