On the Hunt for Hidden Mine Shafts

Coal mining in the UK has been taking place since Roman times, primarily exploiting the abundant and accessible c. 300m year old Carboniferous coalfields. The industry reached its peak early in the 20th century extracting over 250 million tonnes per annum and employing over 1 million workers.

While coal mining has pretty much ceased as an industry, historic mine workings (both recorded and unrecorded) litter the large swathes of UK potentially causing issues for construction and development projects.

GRM has a wealth of experience and expertise in the mining sector, indeed it is something of a specialism given the background of the two founding Directors (see GRM History page). We continue to work with a range of clients from large commercial developments to private homeowners looking to build or extend properties.

One ongoing example involves a private client who instructed GRM to assess the potential impact of historic coal mining for an extension to an existing house. An initial Coal Mining Risk Assessment identified two potential mine shafts and shallow unrecorded mine workings. Records also indicated the potential for a mine drain at a depth of c. 18m.

Due to access restrictions, GRM had to use a tight access rotary rig to investigate the potential mine workings down to a depth of 30m. In the rear garden a series of narrowly spaced trial trenches were excavated to natural strata in order to locate or reduce the offset indicated by the Coal Authority.

GRM will now revise the Coal Mining Risk Assessment taking into account the findings from the intrusive works. We will then advise the client on the next steps to take to minimise the risks and costs to ensure a successful project.

If you have any development or construction projects, then please get in touch to find out how we can help save both time and costs. Please use your main point of contact at GRM or for new enquiries email richard.upton@grm-uk.com or call 01283 551249.