The View from England: When copper production was dominated by the Welsh -by Chris Hinde (Northern Miner – January 5, 2023)

Global mining news

The U.K. no longer springs to mind as a mining giant, but we used to have a dominant role in the global industry. The extraction of non-ferrous metals on these islands, particularly copper and tin, dates back to before 2000 BC, and surface workings for coal and iron ore were widespread after the beginning of the Iron Age around 750 BC. This mineral wealth was one of the things that attracted the attention of Rome.

The nation’s mining history comes to mind with the recent news (courtesy of the ‘North Wales Live’ website) that after 37 years of clearance work, volunteers are nearing their goal of breaking through to an unexplored section of Llandudno’s Ty Gwyn copper mine.

Although worked for just 18 years in the mid-19th century, this mine was briefly thought to be the most profitable copper operation in the world. Dating from only 1835, Ty Gwyn (meaning ‘white house’ in Welsh) started much later than the other two mines on the Gt Orme peninsula (the ‘Old’ and ‘New’ Great Orme operations) and was geographically separate.

Great Orme (Norse for sea serpent) is a carboniferous limestone hill immediately to the west of the seaside town of Llandudno. Mining of Great Orme’s dolomite-hosted malachite was extensive 3,500 years ago (circa 1700-1400 BC) and the main site was worked again from 1690 to 1860.

For the rest of this article: