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Author Cwmystwyth: Underground access
royfellows

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Cwmystwyth: Underground access
Posted: 25/09/2009 08:56:24
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Background
Safety work carried out on the site included the prevention of all underground access by the fitting of grills to the entrances. This raised objections from many areas, foremost in dealing with the Crown Estate, through their mineral agents Wardell Armstrong, was the Welsh Mines Preservation Trust

July 2008

Cwmystwyth Statement, on behalf of the Welsh Mines Preservation Trust

“Graham Levins, Hon. Sec. of the Welsh Mines Preservation Trust, at the recent annual Ceredigion Mines Group meeting, gave an update on developments between the crown’s Mineral Agents and the Welsh Mines Preservation Trust with regard to the future management of Cwmystwyth mine site. The crown Agents were unwilling to enter into any negotiations; their only response to offer to sell the mine, the mineral rights and the grazing rights to the Trust for £1.
Following consideration the Trust Directors came to the conclusion that they could not afford to take the mine on. The cost of making the site safe, insuring the Trust against any liabilities arising from the site and those who might visit it exceeded what a small charity could undertake and would affect the ability of the Trust to continue with other projects in Wales, both from a financial and a manpower point of view.

"The Trust’s recent request for a further meeting has been declined. The only way forward that would be considered by the crown's Agent was if a Trust could be formed to purchase and maintain the site. Discussions are continuing to consider the possibility whether a Trust could be formed by the local community, the mining history and exploration movement or official bodies in Wales .

"The issue of underground access at Cwmystwyth was raised. An individual within the Mining History Community suggested that setting up a limited company by guarantee to buy Cwmystwyth should be investigated further. He would personally investigate further the options of setting up a company limited by guarantee with regard to buying Cwmystwyth”.

That individual is I, Roy Fellows

June 2009 Statement on aditnow

I am in negotiations with Wardell Armstrong as mineral agents for the Crown Estate with regard to forming a company limited by guarantee for the purpose of purchasing both soil and mineral rights to the Cwmystwyth mines.

There is quite a history to this, and now that it has come up I think it appropriate to prepare a statement on the events to date. I will do this under a new topic heading.
To answer the question, it has been ongoing for about 12 months now. Early in the year I wrote to Wardells and asked what the current situation was as people wanted to know how things were progressing.
I received a reply to the effect that they (Wardells) were still negotiating with their clients the Crown Estate.
A few weeks ago I attended a meeting of the Ceredigion Mines Forum where I gave a presentation on Cwmystwyth and outlined my skeleton management strategy as well as a number of what I call my “small works”. I urged everyone there who supported my initiative to write to Wardells urging some action on the matter.
That is the state of play at the moment.

Roy A Fellows
AKA “An individual in the mining history community”

September 2009

I recently again wrote to Wardell Armstrong who replied to the effect that they were referring the matter to their clients the Crown Estate.

My perception of this is that there is a unique opportunity to acquire what has rightly been described as “the jewel in the crown” of mid Wales mining remains. What originally arose out of a desire to maintain underground access now presents a much broader opportunity.
The site has suffered much from decay, exacerbated by the removal of materials for building purposes, vandalism, illegal off roading and other activities. I feel that my initiative presents what could basically be described as ‘ the last chance saloon’ for any realistic possibility of saving the place from complete oblivion.
In the event that my initiative goes ahead, I intend to pursue a management policy that includes every means of preserving the site for posterity by consolidation and partial restoration of as much of the remains as possible.



--

'There's a lot of activity for a disused mine!' - Bond in 'A view to a kill'
IP: 78.150.33.183 Edited: 25/09/2009 08:59:37 by royfellows
Vanoord

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Cwmystwyth: Underground access
Posted: 25/09/2009 09:47:21
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I'm slightly surprised that the Crown Estates seem to be acting so slowly - from my experience of them, they're usually very efficient.

It may, of course, depend on the local agent. Are Wardell Armstrong the actual land agents, or are they merely providing engineering consultancy? The Crown usually seem to use Land Agents, of the sort that wear tweed and spend weekends shooting wildlife Wink

--

Filling space until a new signature comes along...
IP: 81.130.122.150
royfellows

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Cwmystwyth: Underground access
Posted: 25/09/2009 09:56:17
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The Crown Estate use separate land agents and mineral agents, and there are possible disputes over ownership and grazing rights, so we could have a situation more complicated than the wiring of my lamps.

--

'There's a lot of activity for a disused mine!' - Bond in 'A view to a kill'
IP: 78.150.33.183
derrickman

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Cwmystwyth: Underground access
Posted: 25/09/2009 10:40:00
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sounds like a delaying strategy to me, make the issue sufficiently intractable and people will lose interest.

Wardell's probably won't do anything unless they feel there is a credible client who will pay their fees.

presumably you will need a Mine Manager and Mine Surveyor, suitably experienced and accepted by HMIM, for your mine management strategy?
IP: 149.254.51.7 Edited: 25/09/2009 10:41:23 by derrickman
Peter Burgess

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Cwmystwyth: Underground access
Posted: 25/09/2009 10:55:59
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Sometimes, and I am in no way implying this is the case here, negotiations can be left with each party expecting the other to be making the next move. This seems to have happened with a site I have been interested in for some years. Someone representing mine explorers interests met with the reps from the conservation body that own the site, and nothing came of it. Now, with a new rep for the conservation body on board, it transpires that after the last meeting some years ago, further actions were left sufficiently woolly that neither party thought they had any tasks to progress the matter. I was left with the impression that the landowner was not really interested in what we wanted to do, and there was no point in chasing it. Apparently, I couldn't have been more wrong.

--

Hey, who turned out the lights!
IP: 81.144.191.248 Edited: 25/09/2009 10:56:21 by Peter Burgess
Jimbo

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Cwmystwyth: Underground access
Posted: 25/09/2009 11:07:28
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derrickman wrote:


presumably you will need a Mine Manager and Mine Surveyor, suitably experienced and accepted by HMIM, for your mine management strategy?


Only if you are going to open it up to organised group/public visits or as a commercial enterprise (Roy's Silver & Lead Co Ltd maybe) Smile

Don't know why that came out all bold Confused
IP: 83.148.135.213 Edited: 25/09/2009 11:16:26 by (moderator)
derrickman

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Cwmystwyth: Underground access
Posted: 25/09/2009 12:11:29
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I'm not sure about that. I've acted before now as Mine Surveyor for parties who simply wished to register and maintain an interest, and never even accessed the place.

IP: 149.254.218.50
Tamarmole

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Cwmystwyth: Underground access
Posted: 25/09/2009 12:28:41
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Only if you are going to open it up to organised group/public visits or as a commercial enterprise (Roy's Silver & Lead Co Ltd maybe) Smile

It's a moot point.

The key piece of legislation is "The management & Administration of Safety & Health at Mines regulations 1993", familiarly known as MASHAM.

MASHAM states (regulation 2 para 3): "A mine shall be treated as being worked at any time that there are persons at work below ground or plant or equipment is in operation at the mine to maintain the safety of that mine or of any other mine or operation of the driving a shaft or outlet is being undertaken at the mine". It could be argued that any activities such as digging, surveying, gateing, securing shafts etc constitute work. If this is the case then the mine becomes a working mine and as such the inspectorate will have to be notified (MASHAM Schedule 2 part 1), Like wise a manager (Reg 8) surveyor (Reg 27) should be appointed.

Legal provisions aside I would strongly recommend that HM Inspectorate of Mines is informed and consulted. In my experience they are a reasonable and pragmatic body of men. If nothing else their advice will be definitive I also think that even if activities don't legally constitute work a management sytem should be put in place reflecting best practice.


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Tamarmole

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Cwmystwyth: Underground access
Posted: 25/09/2009 12:34:02
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Slight problem with my last post, not too sure how that smiley face crept in.

MASHAM Reg 8 refers to the Appointment of Manager (&Substitute)

MASHAM reg 27 referes to Appointment of surveyoys.

IP: 91.85.191.171
royfellows

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Cwmystwyth: Underground access
Posted: 25/09/2009 12:40:27
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I appreciate people taking interest in this but I feel many are going off on a tangent.
There is some backgound to the place that is probably presenting issues that need to be addressed before the tranfer of ownership can take place.

I can tell that the owners to tend to regard the place as a liability and just want to get rid of it, but at the same time feel the need to be seen to be acting responsibly.

I do have some background information that I am unable to post.


--

'There's a lot of activity for a disused mine!' - Bond in 'A view to a kill'
IP: 78.150.33.183
SimonRL

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Cwmystwyth: Underground access
Posted: 25/09/2009 12:45:48
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Tamarmole wrote:

Slight problem with my last post, not too sure how that smiley face crept in.

MASHAM Reg 8 refers to the Appointment of Manager (&Substitute)

MASHAM reg 27 referes to Appointment of surveyoys.



OT. Slight bug in the forum code, it uses 8 ) for that smiley, so if you do a numbered list with 8 points in it...

I'll fix it in my next session of site and forum fixes and tweaks.

--

No sir, this here will do just fine
IP: 83.148.135.213
Cat_Bones

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Cwmystwyth: Underground access
Posted: 25/09/2009 13:37:47
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Good luck with your ongoing discussions Roy... Cwmystwyth is a fantastic mine and thoroughly deserves to be kept open and accessible. IP: 204.104.55.242
derrickman

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Cwmystwyth: Underground access
Posted: 25/09/2009 23:37:19
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my reading of MASHAM, from experience at Combe Down and elsewhere, is that ANY work would open the possibility of HMIM regarding the mine as 'working' if they saw fit to.

If you paid £1 for the mineral rights, so that there was an owner who could be identified and had a specific interest in the mine - having paid for it - and then fitted access controls, maybe did some digging and allowed a work-group in, then you should involve HMIM.

I certainly wouldn't care to be involved in the subsequent court case in the event of an accident, if you didn't.

IP: 92.6.193.34
Moorebooks

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Cwmystwyth: Underground access
Posted: 29/09/2009 14:35:09
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I think one or two are looking at this as proffesionals and not as mine explorers you need to change hats. This not a working mine and unlikely to be, having had a recent meeting at Snailbeach with Steve Denton mines inspector he readily accepts the NAMHO guidelines on the leisure use of Mines and see's this as the agreed working document.

The legislation refering to working mines only applies the public are being taken underground which is simply not going to be the case. Underground digs by explorers are accepted as part of the hobby. Surface excavations particularly opening of shafts may have a different interprtation.

What does apply however is landowner liability and simply setting up a LTd company does not move away laibilities. However with correct fencing and gates with access arrangements for bona fide Mine explorers (with BCA Insurance) then the whole lot should be okay. Of course taking on ownership could be a nightmare with pollution etc to consider.

[web link]

Mike
IP: 95.147.205.56 Edited: 09/10/2012 09:58:48 by (moderator)
royfellows

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Cwmystwyth: Underground access
Posted: 29/09/2009 14:52:27
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Moorebooks wrote:



Of course taking on ownership could be a nightmare with pollution etc to consider.

Mike


Hi Mike
I have had contact with a representative of the Environment Agency through the Ceredigion Mines Forum
RF

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'There's a lot of activity for a disused mine!' - Bond in 'A view to a kill'
IP: 78.150.33.183
derrickman

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Cwmystwyth: Underground access
Posted: 29/09/2009 18:17:22
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from NAMHO;

5.3 Mining History/Caving Groups - development activities
If activity at a mine includes a programme of restoration, conservation, maintenance or development affecting the fabric of the mine and aimed at re-opening the mine for public access underground, then the Mines Inspectorate should be made aware of the activity. Depending on the circumstances, volunteers could be considered to be at work as employees of the club or mine owner.
c:\namho/june12 00 guidelines 6
Where a Mining History/Caving group has its own disused mine whether through ownership, lease or licence, it becomes the mine owner for the purposes of Health and Safety legislation and has the duty of complying with legislation and notifications to the Mines Inspectorate. If the Group has an ordinary access
agreement with the mine owner, these duties remain with the mine owner. The Group does however have a duty to keep the mine owner fully informed of their activities and should check that the owner has contacted the Mines Inspectorate.
It is likely that any project carried out by a Group for the purposes of reopening a mine and resembling a mining operation, such as shaft clearance, support of workings or a large undertaking to reopen collapsed workings, would have to be notified under MASHAM regulation 7 and health and safety legislation appropriate to the activity could apply. One months notice of the start of such an operation is required and any access problems should also be highlighted to the Inspectorate as an inspection is likely to be considered necessary.
Even if the Mines Inspectorate advises that having considered the circumstances, they do not deem these mining operations to constitute work activities, Groups should carry out a risk assessment and take account of relevant legislation and ACOPs (see Appendix 2 and 3) as setting out good practice. For example shaft headgear and haulage systems, should be constructed and maintained to a high engineering standard and only operated by well trained, competent adults. Use of caving ladders, lifelines and single rope techniques should follow current NCA best practice.

well, yes, some people here ARE looking at the matter as professionals. It's what professionals do, and it's appropriate that they are doing so, judging from some of the passages highlighted above.

if Snailbeach have agreed with HMIM that NAMHO is the guiding document, all well and good. But, this is only one Inspector, and they can vary considerably in their approach. They have considerable discretion, and are free to employ it.

I would qualify tamarmole's comments in that Inspectors are usually very experienced and pragmatic men, who place a high value on professionalism. If you show them something they regard as a proper approach, they will usually respond in kind.

however it has to be said, that some of the things cavers and mine explorers do, are simply not acceptable once you stray into MASHAM territory. Inspectors also have considerable discretion to block more or less anything you wish to do, if in their view it is unsafe.

it's not useful at this stage, to attempt to draw some sort of distinction between "profesionals" and "mine explorers", because they will not be open to such an approach.

IP: 82.32.67.44 Edited: 29/09/2009 18:29:57 by derrickman
ttxela

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Cwmystwyth: Underground access
Posted: 29/09/2009 21:05:35
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Good luck with the project thogh Roy, it's certainly a worthwhile endeavour. IP: 92.2.90.115
Moorebooks

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Cwmystwyth: Underground access
Posted: 30/09/2009 08:22:20
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Derrickman,

I am assuming apart from making safe there are no plans for making public access other than legitimate explorers.
Steve Denton covers shropshire and Mid North wales the interpretation would be the same.

Mike
IP: 92.42.56.244
derrickman

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Cwmystwyth: Underground access
Posted: 30/09/2009 08:44:51
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I would suggest that "no public access other than legitimate explorers" is a phrase which would have little or no meaning in the eyes of the law.

there are clearly significant differences if the Group were the owner, or possibly lessee, rather than simply having an access agreement of some kind. That has been mentioned in this thread already.

it's clear that under certain circumstances, the Inspector would have the discretion to insist on full MASHAM compliance.

it's a big plus if the Inspector involved is familiar with, and sympathetic to, the concept and already deals with preserved mines open or accessible in this fashion.




the main problems I have had over the years, have been with Inspectors who insist on treating minor and long-closed workings as though they were major operations.

This has tended to be in a context of civil engineering operations intersecting old bell-pit or drift mines, this can happen in areas like the Don Valley. The project management can at this stage, find themselves dealing with two sets of legislation which are not compatible in some respects, often with a client who simply isn't interested in the differences between them and hasn't any proivision for the inevitable costs which arise.

this tends to produce a situation where all parties tend to stand on the letter of the law, it's not a very happy situation.


IP: 149.254.49.64
Moorebooks

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Cwmystwyth: Underground access
Posted: 30/09/2009 11:19:07
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I am applying the same commonsense that allows access to Cwmorthin and Nenthead. Legitimate explorers I take to be members of a Society linked to the BCA insurance scheme in some way.

The BCA would also provide a landowners indeminity insurance certificate for use of the mines in this way.

Mike
IP: 92.42.56.244
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