Mining hazards

Middleton limestone mine, Midlothian, showing pillar and stall extraction (1945).

Great Britain has long and diverse history of mining activity. Over fifty mineral commodities have been extracted, ranging from large scale metal and building stone mining to small scale activities supporting local industries including extraction of jet, ball clay and graphite.

Past underground activity has resulted in voids that, particularly where shallow, may collapse and cause surface settlement.

Historic underground mining may lead to financial loss for anyone involved in the ownership or management of property, including developers, householders and local government. Costs could include increased insurance premiums, depressed house prices and in some cases, engineering works to stabilise land or property.

Armed with knowledge about potential issues, preventative measures can be put in place to alleviate the impact to people and property.

Groverake Mine 80 fathom level. Rookhope, Weardale.

The mining hazard data combine geology, which constrains the distribution of workings, with records obtained through extensive literature searches to identify areas of past working, resulting in a national dataset indicating the likelihood of past underground mining.

Research and development

  • Development of database of subsidence events including sinkholes and mine collapse both natural and artificial, particularly related to climate-induced occurrences
  • Continued development of the BGS mine plan collection to support 3D modelling and aid understanding of mining related subsidence events


Contact Kathrine Linley for more information.