Cwmavon, Afan Valley

This mine was opened in 1841 by Governor and Company and worked in the 1870s by the English Copper Company.

The Copper Works of the south-west of the Coalfield were not only vitally important to the economy of South Wales but also to the economy of Cornwall.

Cornwall was the World’s premier copper-producing area in the late 18th and 19th centuries, with it more economical to ship the ore for smelting in South Wales than ship the coal for the smelting to Cornwall. The output of copper peaked in 1856 at 1619 tons, but the new fields discovered in Australia and the America’s (particularly Chile) brought the price down, and the long decline of the Cornish Copper industry.

Transport of the copper was initially by pack mule and then mineral railways were built to the ports that shipped to south Wales, the ships used to transport the copper was known as the ‘Welsh Fleet’ and consisted mainly of two-masted schooners suited to the small Cornish ports.

On the 3rd of May 1872, William Williams, aged 20 years and a collier, died under a roof fall at this mine.


Information supplied by Ray Lawrence and used here with his permission.

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