08 August 2011

Mining Minerals in Minera I

The carboniferous limestone outcrop that starts at Llanymynech passes through Minera, in North Wales. Although it is believed that the latter area was mined by the Romans, the first documentary evidence is from the early 14th-century.

Systematic work in search of galena (lead ore) and sphalerite (zinc ore) commenced in 1720, but Minera always suffered from severe problems with flooding. A Boulton and Watt pumping engine was installed in 1783, and by 1816 seven pumping engines were in operation.

However, cooperation between the various owners militated against effective dewatering, which was not achieved until the Minera Mining Company consolidated all leases in the area in 1849. Over the next two decades Minera became Britain's largest producer of galena and sphalerite.

The mine closed in 1914. At Meadow Shaft (1,200 feet) are preserved the engine house and chimney; and working dressing plant, including separator jigs and circular buddles (used to separate out fine ore particles). Rails, trucks, and lengths of iron pump pipe complete the picture.

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