As part of ongoing research into the environmental impact of abandoned metalliferous mines in the Central Wales Orefield in the UK, a geophysical study was undertaken in order to characterise mine tailings at the Frongoch Mine near Devil’s Bridge, Ceredigion. A combination of ERT and GPR surveys over a tailings lagoon has revealed the extent of the tailings deposits as well as the presence of underlying strata, including peat and glacial till. Observed resistivities are in accordance with the properties of samples taken from trial pits and with the previous extent of the lagoon indicated on historic maps. It has been demonstrated that GPR can successfully map peat and glacial till layers below the conductive tailings deposits. Under the circumstances, GPR data proved more useful to estimate the thickness of the tailings layer, while ERT may hold more information about superficial cover and bedrock topography. The potential of non-invasive geophysical techniques as a rapid and cost-effective tool in the context of the appraisal and environmental impact assessment of mine waste has been highlighted.


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