Amy McKenna – Mineshaft Hunter

The UKs coal mining legacy is widespread and needs to be investigated thoroughly. Following a request from a long-standing client, GRM reviewed a proposed development site which was located in a Coal Authority Development High Risk Area.

GRM’s subsequent Coal Mining Risk Assessment (CMRA) and Phase I Desk Study found that the site had historically been collieries and an opencast coal mine. The CMRA identified 11 seams of coal from shallow to 210m depth, which were last worked in 1962, 29 shafts within the site boundary and 3 more within 20m of the site boundary.

Following the CMRA, GRM were engaged to design a programme to search for the mineshafts in the Phase I and Public Open Space areas of the site, which were not thought to have been excavated by the opencast works.

During the recent miserably wet weather, GRM engineer Amy proved that she was made of tough stuff as she donned her GRM waterproof PPE, put on a safety harness, took a long reach excavator and played hunt the mineshaft.

Amy and the long reach excavator
Amy in full PPE including safety harness

Amy has been doing a sterling job and so far she has found 16 of the 26 mineshafts. Whilst on-site we were asked to look for one of the mineshafts in the former opencast. Amy was able to reach a depth of 11m, but was unfortunately unable to locate the mineshaft at the indicated location, but still an 11m deep trial pit is quite some feat, showing that GRM will go that extra mile to get the job done.

Picture showing the contrast between the infilled shaft (dark grey) and the natural strata(red-brown)
Picture showing open cast backfill
Brick lined mineshaft at shallow depth

This is a fascinating project which will eventually bring 220 new houses and circa 8ha of Public Open Space to the heart of the Black Country.

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