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The United Kingdom has thousands of abandoned metal mines

The United Kingdom has thousands of abandoned metal mines stretching from base metal mines in Scotland to gold and copper mines in the Cambrian mountains of Wales to tin mines in Cornwall. Metal mining has occurred since 500 BC or over 2500 years.

Mining in the UK peaked in the 18th and 19th centuries with more than 2000 active mines, all of which are now abandoned. The mines have left a legacy of derelict land and contamination of surface water by metals.

SRK has completed several commissions to develop risk assessment criteria and reclamation plans for metal and coal mines in Cornwall, Ireland, and Wales and for coal mines in Scotland. In some cases these plans involve removal of mine waste, recontouring topography and water management techniques such as drainage control, adit plugs and installation of passive treatment schemes.

At other mines, little or no surface reclamation is required. Remediation strategies were based on identification of various contaminant sources, minimisation of water movement through source areas and treatment of residual contaminated flows.

SRK has also worked with tourist and archaeological specialists and with local stakeholders to ensure the cultural value of former mining areas is maintained.

Rob Bowell:

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