Let Geoinvestigate quote for your next coal mining risk assessment (CMRA), coal mining investigation, mining report, mineshaft investigation, desk study, ground investigation, borehole investigation, site investigation, geotechnical, geo-environmental or contaminated land investigation in Leicestershire and South Derbyshire including the towns of Swadlincote, Ashby de la Zouch, Coalville, Ibstock, Thringstone, Nailstone,.Asfordby and Melton Mowbray..
Geoinvestigate’s desk top CMRA studies unravel Leicestershire and South Derbyshires Coal Mining Legacy
With over 18 years in the business, several regional offices offering a nationwide service, highly qualified and experienced technical professional staff, and its own drilling equipment, Geoinvestigate is best placed to give the most competitive and professional coal mining investigation service in Leicestershire and South Derbyshire.
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The following article gives a brief background to mining activity in the Leicestershire and South Derbyshire Coalfields and the services Geoinvestigate provide to enable house buyers, home owners, developers, architects, surveyors and engineers both to buy to build safely in respect of the regions coal mining legacy.
Leicestershire and South Derbyshire Coalfield
The main coalfield lies in a ten mile square area centred on Ashby-de-la-Zouch, extending across the county boundary. There were probably small pits on Swannington Common before the Norman Conquest, as the coal was regarded as a common asset of the free men of the village. Documentary references begin in the 13th century at Swannington and Worthington. There were mines at Staunton Harold in the early 14th century, and by the 1420s the nearby village of Overton Saucy was sufficiently well-known as a supplier of coal to be renamed “Coal Overton”, later shortened to “Coleorton”.
A large opencast mine at Coleorton – the “Lounge” Site – operating from 1988-1994 produced a wealth of evidence of earlier mining activities, particularly from the late 15th century, when well-organised pillar and stall mines were being accessed by timber-lined shafts at depths of 30 metres or more below the surface. There was also much evidence from the 16th century, and some items from more recent times. Hundreds of finds from this site are stored by the Leicestershire County Council Museums Service, mainly at Snibston Discovery Museum.
On the western side of the coalfield mines at Swadlincote are mentioned in 1294, and Leicester Abbey had mines at Oakthorpe probably in the 14th century, but certainly by 1477. By this date there were probably also mines in the Derbyshire villages of Stanton and Newhall. Through the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries mines were developed to gradually greater depths in the Swannington-Coleorton and Oakthorpe-Donisthorpe-Measham areas.
In the early 19th century the Earl of Moira developed mines, an ironworks and a new settlement called Moira on the southern part of Ashby Wolds, served by the Ashby Canal. Between the 1820s and the end of the century, gradually deeper mines were sunk to concealed reserves south of the Eastern Basin, as far as Desford.
During the 19th and 20th centuries most collieries set up an adjacent brick and tile works, and a network of railways evolved to link them to the national railway system. Ashby Wolds, an area of former open common land between the Leicestershire and Derbyshire mines, became in addition a major centre of sanitary ware manufacture.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries the area developed a pattern of settlement which is still obvious to this day, with scattered terraces of housing in and around the collieries, and ribbon development along roads from village to village. The Burton and Ashby Light Railway, an electric tramway system, was constructed through Woodville and Swadlincote.
20th century developments were mainly concerned with linking existing mines underground and improving surface handling facilities. Most of the 19th century mines survived into the 1960s, before the rapid abandonment of deep mines in the 1970s and 1980s.
There is considerable evidence of coal mining in the form of earthworks around Coleorton, where five areas of pits have been scheduled as Ancient Monuments, with features probably dating from the 14th to the 17th centuries. A Newcomen engine house survives (sadly much modified in recent times) at Moira, and there is a late 19th century wider house at Calcutta Colliery in Swannington.
The buildings at Snibston, which are mainly of mid-late 20th century date, but include some elements from the mid 19th century, form one of the best surviving groups of deep coal mine buildings still existing in the UK, and are accessible to the public as part of the Snibston Museum site.
The Nottinghamshire coalfield has been traced across the boundary in Leicestershire and in the 1980s it was proposed to sink new ‘super’ mines in the Vale of Belvoir. A mix of economic and political pressure meant that only one, at Asfordby, was allowed in 1986. This was at the southern edge of the coalfield and had significant geological and mining problems. In 1989, a Monopolies and Mergers Commission report on the British Coal Corporation noted “we have been puzzled by the history of the Asfordby new mine project” and concluded that it“has always been marginal in financial terms”.
Borehole Investigation of Shallow Coal Mining
Over the past 6 months Geoinvestigate’s new compact microdrill system has proven its worth and that it’s just the answer for investigating Nottinghamshires coal mining legacy. Microdrill offers restricted access, small diameter rotary open-hole drilling which is first and foremost SAFE, fast, clean, quiet, cost effective and environmentally friendly. New Microdrill has been designed for probing for shallow workings in limestone, sandstone and coal as well as locating mine shafts and sinkholes.
New Microdrill reaches the places other rigs cannot get to
Recently Microdrill was in action in Newcastle on the Northumberland Coalfield. Having previously obtained a coal drilling permit from the Coal Authority to drill with small volume water injection flush Microdrill was delivered to site on the back of a standard flatbed trailer.
Shallow mine working investigation of a housing estate in Newcastle
Access to the drilling positions in several gardens was tricky but achievable with Microdrill.
In accordance with Coal Authority Guidance on Managing the Risk of Hazardous Gases when Drilling or Piling Near Coal (essentially a Code of practice for safe drilling and piling through coal) Microdrill new small volume water injection system was in this instance considered to be the safest flushing medium.
Potential gas emission hazards arising when drilling into abandoned coal mine workings
This is because there was assessed to be an unknown or undetermined gas risk as is so often the case in exploratory drilling works on the UK coalfields.
New Microdrills small volume water flush injection system is by far the safest way of drilling mine workings
The Coal Authority normally stipulates small volume water injection flush for their internally managed exploratory drilling works because it ensures minimal risk to the public from hazardous gases including carbon dioxide, methane and carbon monoxide. In fact it is rare under the Coal Authorities strict safety policy for drilling through coal for them to permit anything else but water.
Probing for shallow mine workings and coal in Newcastle Microdrill on it’s 50th job in Newcastle
The Coal Authorities strict policy with regard to water flush is something to be considered by site investigation companies when compiling a Coal Mining Risk Assessment (CMRA) or drawing-up a source-pathway-receptor based risk assessment for drilling permit application.
High pressure small volume water injection makes Geoinvestigates New Microdrill system safest
It should also be borne in mind by drilling contractors and consultants that the CA polices drill sites checking some 10% of drill sites per year to ensure compliance with the permit. A change in drill flush from that originally agreed with the CA would be a breach of terms and conditions and could result in prosecution.
Geoinvestigate’s New Microdrill working through the night on a coal mining investigation
New Microdrill has been demoed to the CA who gave it their nod of approval suggesting that in their opinion it was easily capable of reaching 50m and much deeper though up till now it has only been tested to 30m which is typically the limit for shallow mining investigation.
Coal at 11m depth turns drill water black indicating the seam is intact and the ground is stable
Geoinvestigate carrying out a contaminated land site investigation and gas survey in Hartlepool
If you require a coal mining investigation, Phase 1 desk study, coal mining risk assessment (CMRA), Phase 2 intrusive site investigation, geotechnical investigation, ground investigation or you need a contaminated land survey or landfill gas survey, trial pitting or borehole drilling please do not hesitate to contact one of our regional offices. Our team are only too happy to assist with your enquiry and will ensure that you get our most competitive quote.