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Advanced Member

United Kingdom
330 Posts

Posted - 05/07/2021 :  16:08:57  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
hello, no doubt that when we were all in school and the reasons for the industrial revolution came to this part of wales was for the coal and iron ore bearing shale, what i want to know is where was this shale obtained from and does it exist today, maybe a commerial application could make this shale a desired item given what machinery we do have today?

Advanced Member

United Kingdom
251 Posts

Posted - 05/07/2021 :  18:44:43 Link directly to this reply  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The iron ore called siderite was found in nodules in thin layers of shale.It would need to be deep mined today,has a low iron content and would not be viable
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Super Member

United Kingdom
1620 Posts

Posted - 06/07/2021 :  17:14:44 Link directly to this reply  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I believe that by current standards it had many impurities; Perhaps not bad for iron making but not for steel.
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Advanced Member

United Kingdom
330 Posts

Posted - 07/07/2021 :  08:56:06 Link directly to this reply  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
so if siderite is extracted from coal levels, perhaps the big hole over merthyr may or not contain siderite so if anyone reading this and working there could ask if the stratas have it?
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Full Member

79 Posts

Posted - 10/07/2021 :  15:23:04 Link directly to this reply  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
According to Wikipedia "Ironstone is a component of the Lower Coal Measures rock sequence where it outcrops along the northern edge of the South Wales Coalfield". Presumably once you have used the convenient outcrops it gets more difficult to obtain.

Dredging memories from many years ago, I seem to remember that the local sources were enough for the middle ages and early years when you just wanted modest amounts, but as the demand went up there was a move to imports. The thinking was that it was most efficient to ship the ore to where the coal and limestone could be found. For "efficient" read "makes more money"!

In the history page of this site I found "By 1805, a 24 mile stretch of tramline had been laid to transport coal and iron ore to Newport docks" and "The journey from Tredegar to Newport carried a load of 50 tons at an average speed of 6 miles per hour." Clearly, it was being dug out here.

I have a vague memory of a picture of an ore carrier ship docking in Cardiff and bringing the stuff for use in Merthyr. As I remember, it was transported from an opencast mine in a Commonwealth country. Thus it would be dug out, moved by railway to a port, put on a ship, transferred to Cardiff and put on another railway to Merthyr. In effect, it is a straight line movement that could be set up to handle thousands of tons of ore.

I assume this process was a part of the reason for the shift out of places like Tredegar.

Page three of this link has a map showing the broad distribution.
The first page of this link also has a useful paragraph.

It seems the issue is not availability, but rather how it is spread and the work needed to collect the stuff.
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