Ystrad Einion lead-silver, zinc and copper mine is one of the most northerly metal mines in Ceredigion, situated in the heart of Cwm Einion. Mining had been carried out here in a small way since the 18th century, but the main period of activity came in the final decades of the 19th century, when Lancastrian entrepreneur Adam Mason leased the land from the Pryses of Gogerddan and sank over £3000 in state-of-the-art equipment.
Ystrad Einion was a relatively small mine; a report of 1891 notes just 11 miners working at the site, 9 men labouring underground and 2 lads, aged between 13 and 18 above ground. It also proved spectacular unprofitable, with minimal, if any, returns. In 1891 the mine produced 5 tons of silver bearing lead (value £37), 10 tons of zinc ore (value £15) and 5 tons of copper ore (value £7). The mine was closed in 1903, when much of the machinery was sold or scrapped.
The above ground remains of the mine have been consolidated and are accessible to the public. Here processing to recover the metal ore took place. Water provided the main source of power and was brought to the site via a leat running off from the River Einion 2km up stream. The wheel pits for three waterwheels survive, one wheel powered the pumps and winding drum at the main shaft head, another powered the stone breaker and crusher machinery in the crusher house, where lumps of ore bearing rock were reduced to a manageable size, and the third powered the jiggers and buddles which sorted and separated the metal ore. Other features of the site included waste tips, two stone ore bins, a blacksmiths shop, an ore store, an elaborate system of settling troughs and ponds to purify the poisonous wastewater, a gunpowder magazine set away from the other buildings and a series of tramways together with an incline that transported ore, waste and other materials around the site.
Below ground are 4 levels of workings, accessed through adits cut in the hillside and linked by a number of shafts that reached an ultimate depth of 50 fathoms. A waterwheel (NPRN 415676) which operated drainage pumps and a winding drum survives below ground and is unique in its survival.
Louise Barker, RCAHMW, January 2011.