Chapter 13 Hazards associated with mining and mineral exploitation in Cornwall and Devon, SW England
Published:June 09, 2020
B. Gamble, M. Anderson, J. S. Griffiths, 2020. "Chapter 13 Hazards associated with mining and mineral exploitation in Cornwall and Devon, SW England", Geological Hazards in the UK: Their Occurrence, Monitoring and Mitigation – Engineering Group Working Party Report, D. P. Giles, J. S. Griffiths
Download citation file:
The largest UNESCO World Heritage Site in the UK is found in Cornwall and west Devon, and its designation is based specifically on its heritage for metalliferous mining, especially tin, copper and arsenic. With a history of over 2000 years of mining, SW England is exceptional in the nature and extent of its mining landscape. The mining for metallic ores, and more recently for kaolin, is a function of the distinctive geology of the region. The mining hazards that are encountered in areas of metallic mines are a function of: the Paleozoic rocks; the predominant steeply dipping nature of mineral veins and consequent shaft mining; the great depth and complexity of some of the mines; the waste derived from processing metallic ores; the long history of exploitation; and the contamination associated with various by-products of primary ore-processing, refining and smelting, notably arsenic. The hazards associated with kaolin mining are mainly related to the volume of the inert waste products and the need to maintain stable spoil tips, and the depth of the various tailings’ ponds and pits. The extent of mining in Cornwall and Devon has resulted in the counties being leaders in mining heritage preservation and the treatment and remediation of mining-related hazards.
Figures & Tables
Geological Hazards in the UK: Their Occurrence, Monitoring and Mitigation – Engineering Group Working Party Report
The UK is perhaps unique globally in that it presents the full spectrum of geological time, stratigraphy and associated lithologies within its boundaries. With this wide range of geological assemblages comes a wide range of geological hazards, whether they be geophysical (earthquakes, effects of volcanic eruptions, tsunami, landslides), geotechnical (collapsible, compressible, liquefiable, shearing, swelling and shrinking soils), geochemical (dissolution, radon and methane gas hazards) or georesource related (coal, chalk and other mineral extraction). An awareness of these hazards and the risks that they pose is a key requirement of the engineering geologist.
The Geological Society considered that a Working Party Report would help to put the study and assessment of geohazards into the wider social context, helping the engineering geologist to better communicate the issues concerning geohazards in the UK to the client and the public. This volume sets out to define and explain these geohazards, to detail their detection, monitoring and management and to provide a basis for further research and understanding.