Prior to 1986, all minerals and mining on the Island was under the control of the Forestry, Lands and Mines Board. Today, minerals are owned and extraction managed by the Department of Economic Development . Many examples of disused mines can still be seen, however, on the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture’s hill lands.
The Isle of Man is particularly rich in a range of mineral deposits which provides fascinating study for geologists. Mineral extraction has undoubtedly been undertaken here for thousands of years, but recorded history first makes mention of Harold II, King of Norway giving charter to work Manx Mines to the Monks of Furness Abbey in 1246.
Evidence of mining, from small drift mines in the hills to those still showing impressive and fascinating industrial archaeology can be seen throughout the Island.
The following are some of the more notable mines which can be found on the Department’s estate:
Beckwith’s Mine is located above Glen Rushen on the western slopes of South Barrule, The mine was first worked around 1839 and produced lead ore before being closed in 1877. The main shaft was 1,100 feet deep, the bottom of which was considerably below sea level. Today impressive ruins of the mine buildings and chimney can still be seen.
Cross Vein Mine
Variously known as Cross’s Mine, Cronk Vane Mine or Snuff the Wind, this mine lies on the road from South Barrule to Glen Maye and was worked from 1830 to 1840. The deeper of the 2 shafts was around 500 feet and almost solid galena (lead ore) was produced.
Cornelly, also called ‘Jones’s Mine’ is sited above the central valley at the north-west corner of Archallagan Plantation. It was first opened in 1845 but its productive period was between 1874 and 1884. The mine produced lead ore and the deepest level was 840 feet. Mine buildings and adits (horizontal mine entrances) can still be seen.
Dixon’s Mine lies on the northern slopes of South Barrule. The mine was worked from 1855 to 1869 and reached a depth of around 282 feet. A little galena (lead ore) was found but the mine was not particularly successful.
Snaefell Mine is located high in the Laxey Valley on the slopes of Snaefell and can be approached by the public footpath from Laxey Village. Work started here in 1856 and continued until a serious fault in the main shaft caused closure in 1908. The mine reached a depth of 1,188 feet. Low grade lead and zinc was produced.
North Laxey Mine is situated near the head of the beautiful Corrany Valley in the shadow of North Barrule. The mine started operations in 1856 and, being worked in conjunction with the Great Laxey Mine, produced lead ore until its closure in 1897. The mine was developed through two shafts 70 yards apart. The north shaft reached a depth of 1,044 feet and the south one 660 feet.