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Benallt Mine (Tyddyn Meirion mine; Ty Canol mine), Rhiw, Llanfaelrhys, Lleyn Peninsula, Gwynedd (Caernarvonshire), Wales, UK
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Benallt Mine, Rhiw, Llanfaelrhys, Lleyn Peninsula, Gwynedd, Wales, UK

Photo: Steve Rust
UK Grid Reference: SH222281
Latitude: 52°49'14"N
Longitude: 4°38'20"W
The Benallt mine was opened in 1886 and continued to produce manganese ore until 1894 when the site was abandoned.

Although separately owned, Benallt and the adjoining Rhiw Mine worked the same orebody and both surface and undergound workings were amalgamated. The north-east part of the orebody worked by the Rhiw Mine was Crown property whilst the larger Benallt Mine to the south-west was in private ownership.The distinction between the two mines on the ground is unclear (however, a large steam boiler remaining on the site is in the Rhiw Mine set).

The Benallt mine was reworked in 1904 as the Benallt No 2 mine, when further reserves of manganese were delineated. However, the orebody appears to have been almost exhuasted by 1914 and the the company then turned their attention to The Nant mine, a more regular orebody on the coast that was located about 1 mile SSW of Benallt. Nant Mine lasted until 1925.

Benallt was reopened by the Ministry of Supply in 1939 to produce minerals for the war effort, this final working incorporating the Rhiw Mine together with the small Tyddyn Meirion (SH221277) and Ty Canol (SH220278) mines immediately to the south. Together with local men, Cornish tin miners, Welsh coal miners, and a contingent of the Royal Canadian Engineers (1941) were also employed. The main use of the latter being to drain old workings and to drill to locate other orebodies.

Bennalt mine was also one of the first to use a magnetometric survey to locate ore reserve. The survey indicated 3 anomalies, 2 of which produced 10000 tons of manganese ore. The mine worked until the end of 1945.

The Benallt/Rhiw mines were linked to a jetty on the coast at the Nant Mine by a ropeway during the earlier working, this was later replaced by a 3 foot gauge railway.

Recorded output for Benallt, Rhiw, and Nant mines is estimated to be around 150000 tons of manganese ore.

Given the linkage between the Benallt and Rhiw mines it is likely that many of the minerals listed here for the Benallt Mine will also have occurred at Rhiw Mine. Whilst some specimens (e.g. the exceptional celsian and paracelsian found in 1911) can be related specifically to underground workings at Benallt Mine, given that no minerals are listed separately for Rhiw Mine, it appears that, mineralogically at least, the two mines seem to be grouped together under the umbrella name of the larger Benallt Mine.

The parish of Rhiw has merged into that of Llanfaelrhys to the south.

Mineral List

Banalsite (TL)
Bannisterite (TL)
Cymrite (TL)
Pennantite (TL)

37 entries listed. 36 valid minerals. 4 type localities (valid minerals).

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T. Cotterell (2008) The first British occurrence of feitnechtite at Benallt manganese mine, Rihw, Pen Llyn, Gwynedd, Wales. UK Journal of mines & Minerals, number 29 pp47-48.

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