West Cumbria Mines Research Group
preserving heritage for future generations

charity number: 1118458


The Centre Closes

WCMRG have now moved their entire collection and its showcases from Florence Mine Heritage Centre.

We have tried to work with the mining company and others for 19 years, but have had to accept that our aims are too diverse to work, and the cost of keeping the mine free of water, too great to be viable. For those not aware of it; it costs around 2k per week to pump the mine, and at around 50 a ton obtained for ore, the mining company would have to mine 40 tons per week before it could make any money. I don't know what they mine on average, but I estimate a maximum of half that figure. Indeed, the mine manager in a recent press interview quoted 500 tons per year, which equates to around 25k, when pumping costs around 110k a year.

NOBODY is going to pay that sum for no return, so reluctantly we've had to accept that the mine will have to flood. The mining company have bravely tried to carry on, but WCMRG has had to move out, and are now storing their property until another option becomes available. How long this will be, we do not know.

We have, following some comments made by the mine manager, donated around half of our cabinets to Haig Mining Museum, who are also storing some others for us. The Beacon has accepted back its items, which were on long term loan to us. A number of items unlikely to be used in any new venture have been given to local charities and schools. Everything else is in a secure storage unit nearby.

Our relationship with the mining company remains cordial, although somewhat strained, and, following an extensive audit of what remains, we remain open to discussions on displaying parts of our collection in a number of local venues, providing they meet security needs, and the stipulations of our charity's constitution.

WCMRG bears no-one ill-will, and is a charity with defined aims, which it must abide by. We cannot ignore our constitution, and are legally bound to abide by it. Accordingly, we cannot deviate from the wishes of those who state in writing, their wishes on donated items or funds, however much we still wish for Florence Mine to remain open.

We have not moved out without a lot of heartache and soul-searching, but have done so, following months of stress and sleepless nights. We wish the mining company well in their lone endeavours as they continue to try and find funders to support their enterprise.

Dave Banks
Hon Sec