The best mining museums in the UK

Posted July 21st 2017

Museum of Lead Mining

High in the hills of Scotland, in a village called Wanlockhead, is the Museum of Lead Mining, a Visit Scotland 4 Star Visitor Attraction and treasure trove of information about lead mining. The museum is set around a genuine 18th century lead mine which visitors can venture into on their tour, and shows how lead miners lived and worked at different periods as lead mining evolved. The museum offers daily guided tours of the mine, the miners cottages and the miners library, to give visitors a comprehensive and unique insight into the world of lead mining.

Keswick Mining Museum

Keswick Mining Museum explores the history of mining in Keswick, and how the industry has shaped the rural town throughout the centuries. Beginning with Copper and Lead, before progressing on to Borrowdale graphite, the mining industry here went through many stages of change before and eventually the mining of Slate, Coal and Iron dominated the town as the advent of the railway become more popular. As the first mining museum to be located in Cumbria it delivers a much-needed insight into the history of mining in the area and houses a lot of significant memorabilia.

Cleveland Ironstone Mining Museum

A celebration of ironstone mining, the Cleveland Ironstone Mining Museum is located on the site of Loftus Mine, the very first mine to be opened in Cleveland. Fittingly, it explores the rich history and subsequent legacy of iron mining in the UK, which at one time supplied iron to Europe, America, Africa, India and Australia, creating the railway infrastructure and bridges in these countries.

Peak District Lead Mining Museum

Offering guided tours and activities to suit children and adults of all ages, this museum explores the history of lead mining in the Derbyshire area. The museum itself is home to thousands of items that are displayed in different exhibits. Guided tours are also provided to Temple Mine where visitors can see how a mine worked during the 1920s and 1950s, as well as the equipment miners would have used.


Mining in Outer Space

Posted July 17th 2017

It may not be the first place that springs to mind when you think of a potential area for mining metals, but many metals can be found in outer space and as the supply on our planet dwindles, the discussion of how we can mine these metals becomes ever more serious.

Although it seems more suited to a science fiction novel than reality, mining in space is something now being approached as a potentially viable option. For example, Deep Space Industries is a company developed to meet the potential need for asteroid mining and one which, according to their website, provides ‘the technical resources, capabilities and system integration required to prospect for, harvest, process, manufacture and market in-space resources.’ They acknowledge their missing as ‘a daring one’, and yet it cannot be denied that the ability to mine certain materials from space would be a huge benefit for us.

Meteorites that have fallen to earth in the past of yielded huge amounts of precious metals such as platinum, gold, palladium, iridium and rhodium. As these are only small chunks of larger asteroids, the amounts of metal that a full asteroid could contain are potentially huge. Bernstein, a Wall Street research firm, asserts that one particular asteroid known as ’16 Psyche’, could contain more than 17 million billion tons of nickel-iron. An amount like this would be enough to provide for our current needs for millions of years.

Despite this, travel into space in order to mine these materials is still a distant dream and in order to get there huge developments are still needed in the space travel industry. Who knows what the future holds?


Fears for patients with ‘metal-on-metal’ hip implants

Posted July 5th 2017

An alert issued by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) means that thousands of people could be at risk of damage from ‘metal-on-metal’ hip implants which have raised concerns over their levels of toxicity.

The implants are thought to have been used on approximately 56,000 people in the UK and will be recalled for testing amidst fears that they could cause bone or muscle damage if any metal particles have detached and settled into the surrounding tissue. If this is the case, then further surgery could be required. Although patients with smaller size implants have not been considered high risk in the past this view has now changed to consider all patients with this type of implant at potential risk.

Dr Neil McGuire, clinical director of medical devices for the MHRA, said, ‘We’ve now included a group of people who were at low risk, but were not at no risk. It’s more about catching people who could be developing these complications early.’

Whilst the MHRA has stated that it does not anticipate an increase in the number of revision surgeries that will need to be performed, thousands of extra patients will now need to undergo testing to rule them out. McGuire also stated that ‘although the majority of patients with these metal-on-metal devices have well-functioning hips, it is known some may develop soft tissue reactions related to their implant. The clinical advice we have received indicates patients will likely have the best outcomes if these problems are detected early, monitored and treated if necessary’.