Register of Abandoned Mine Entries

Register of Abandoned Mine Entries

This year, Wardell Armstrong will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of its association with the Isle of Man in providing a mineral estate management service to the Manx Government. In 1986, the Manx Parliament passed the Minerals Act which vested all mines and minerals on the Island with the Manx Government. Since 1977, the Firm has managed the Island’s mineral assets on behalf of the Government by granting mineral exploration licences and mining agreements to extract the minerals. We have strived to maximise the value of the mineral assets, minimise potential liabilities, and ensure that the land from which minerals have been extracted is properly restored.

The Isle of Man has a long history of metalliferous mining dating back to Roman times but the heyday for the mining of lead, copper, iron and zinc on the Island took place during the Victorian era. Consequently, such mining activities have left a legacy with over 300 recorded mine entries on the Island.

With the ownership of the mines and minerals comes the ownership of the mine entries and the liability for maintaining them and the responsibility for treatment if anything goes wrong. We advised the Government that it should attempt to assess the extent of its liability for insurance purposes. We subsequently created a Register of every mine entry and developed a bespoke methodology to evaluate the individual risks posed based on the type and condition of the mine entry, the ease of access to the mine entry and the proximity of the entry to footpaths, roads or open access areas. Each mine entry was then categorised into High, Medium and Low risk. We are currently involved in a programme of inspection of each entry and the findings are added to the Register which ultimately recommends which sites need to be treated as a priority to ensure the safety of the public.

This project involved Mineral Estates Management, Ground Engineering, Health & Safety Risk Assessments and CAD and GIS support.

Previously, the Client was not aware of the extent of its liability. With the creation of the Register there is now a single database of every recorded mine entry which is fully functional and interactive and the data made available to other Government Departments.