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Dismantling an Old Colliery

Nature volume 145, page 23 (06 January 1940) | Download Citation



WE learn from an article in Roads and Road Construction of December 1 that the famous Cymmer Colliery at Porth, Glam., from which coal has been raised for more than a hundred years, has recently ceased work. The immense quantity of plant which it contains is to be dismantled and made available for use either in the coal industry or in similar industries engaged on contracts of national importance. In the history of this colliery, which once employed more than three thousand men and produced more than three thousand tons of coal a day, an interesting story is told of how about fifty years ago, whilst boring in the shaft for piping supports, the men struck what is called a 'gas blower', which is a sort of pocket of free gas. In these days men were permitted to take naked lights down in the cage with them so that they could heat their tea, and one of these lights ignited the natural gas. As it was dangerous to allow such gas to escape into the shaft, a two-inch pipe was installed to conduct it to the surface. Here it has been burning for fifty years without being extinguished. Measurements show that approximately 650 cub. ft. per hour was being emitted at the 'blow'. The gas is chiefly methane, and arrangements have now been made to 'bottle' it in steel cylinders at about 800 lb. per sq. in. pressure for scientific and industrial use.

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