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Last Updated: Sunday, 12 December, 2004, 11:17 GMT
Project revitalises old mines
An example of mine buildings - picture courtesy of Welsh Mines Preservation Trust
Some of the mines are still visible
A remote area of mid Wales which is home to around 100 former lead and silver mines has been awarded a 450,000 grant.

The 'Spirit of the Miners' project aims to breathe life into the uplands of Ceredigion, once dominated by mining.

Five full-time jobs will be created to administrate and implement the scheme.

Officials hope the legacy of the industry will be used to encourage tourists to the region.

Centuries ago hundreds flocked to a region, which stretches from Tregaron to the Dyfi Valley, to find work. Even miners from Cornwall and Italy moved to Wales.

We will be asking the communities what the money should be spent on
Peter Austin, Ceredigion County Council

The community regeneration project, which will be run by Ceredigion County Council, has received 149,000 European Objective One money, 200,000 from the Welsh Assembly Government, 15,000 from the Countryside Council for Wales, and other investment totalling 100,000.

The money will be available to community groups, organisations and businesses for projects which link to the mining heritage.

The county council's tourism development officer, Peter Austin, said: "Some of the mines go back to the Bronze Age while more of the recent ones stretch back decades.

"The money will be allocated to groups but currently there are only plans and ideas.

"Things are very much in the early stages of development and much needs assessing before we press ahead.

An example of a mine shaft - picture courtesy of Welsh Mines Preservation Trust
Many of the mines have been knocked down

"Some of the ideas include a sculpture and a community walk linking the mines.

"We will be asking the communities what the money should be spent on."

When the mining industry collapsed in the region many of the miners emigrated to South Africa, south Wales and Australia to work, said Mr Austin.

County councillor Ray Quant said: "The national economic strategy acknowledges the importance of the development of rural cultures and communities by use of heritage as a commodity.

"The remains of the built heritage in the uplands of Ceredigion are of significant, historical and educational importance. I am excited for the area."

Many mines in the upland area have become homes to colonies of bats, while many others are now sites of special scientific interest and have historic monument status.

To gather more information about the industry in upland Ceredigion, Mr Austin is appealing to people who had relatives who worked the mines to contact him on 01545 572067.


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