1. 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.
2. Interest in the derelict mine site was reprised in the 1970s through investigations by the Ceredigion Mines Group. The survival of the great underground water wheel was first confirmed on 17th September 1971 by Simon Hughes acting on information recieved from a former miner. Plans were variously made during the 1980s to remove and re-erect this wheel to an industrial museum, or to preserve it in-situ.
During the 1980s further plans were instigated by Dyfed County Council to restore the mine and make it safe for the public to visit, including new plans of the proposed works drawn up in 1989. Following the necessary permissions work got underway in 1993 to reclaim parts of the mine and open it as a visitor attraction. These works included capping the main mine shaft, the provision of steps to parts of the mine and consolidation of the standing ruins and footings.
The latest phase in the interpretation of Ystrad Einion mine involved the production of a computer animation with voice-over in 2013, reconstructing the history and process of the mine. It was produced by ay-pe Ltd, based on research by the RCAHMW and the Welsh Mines Preservation Trust. The project formed part of the Ceredigion County Council PLWM initiative, which received funding through the Rural Development Plan for Wales 2007-2013, which is funded by the Welsh Government and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.
T. Driver, RCAHMW, 2016