Users Meeting Minutes

A brief write up following last weeks meeting has been circulated to the email addresses for those registered to receive updates on the mines. If you’d like a read bug whoever you’re working for!!

Some key points:

  • Please hang up the BAs in Rhiwbach after use, leave them in the boat for others unless you’ve confirmed with the team behind you they’re planning on using the boat
  • All BAs in the mine have been checked and are fit for purpose
  • All anchors in the mines have been checked. Rigging diagrams available to confirm those that passed, and those that did not!
  • Some work on the reservoir above Rhiwbach may start in the next few months. No access restrictions just take care walking the track with groups as there may be heavy machines using the track
  • Upper gate of Rhiwbach being looked at and options discussed
  • Radon Underground update coming soon, expect a requirement to comply with the new regulations
  • Next round of inspections starting week commencing the 16th March. More info soon…
  • If you spot any changes in the mines following the storms please let us know so we can spread the word. Be extra vigulant in the slate mines after the heavy rains!

Gethin

Rhiwbach BAs tested

The BAs in Rhiwbach were checked today with all passing. Each BA was visually inspected for any damage or lack of function and a selection float tested.

The float test took place in the mine, it would be good to get feedback from users on how quickly they dry should we need to do testing outside in the future. Testing in the mine was quick and easy, and would be even easier in the future as a suitable weight and tether are now in hidden behind the boulders in the boating chamber.

Sheet within the mine’s been updated and a copy here. This sheet may change depending on the outcome of this years users meeting with regards the frequently of inspections.

Gethin

Anchor testing completed

Anchor testing in Rhiwbach, Bwlch y Plwm, Wrysgan and Fish Caves has now been completed (to be fair Pete finished off Rhiwbach and Bwlch y Plwm over the Summer!)

Anchors within the blue routes were visually inspected, and where appropriate pull tested with a Hydrawjaw test rig up to 6kN for 15sec. To pass the test the anchor needs to hold the load for that period without fluctuating.

All anchors that passed both the visual (i.e. recognisable, no signs of corruption, not deformed, no movement) and pull test will have a green cable tie fixed to them, any that failed (but we’ve not been able to extract) will have a red cable tie. Anchors with no cable ties may not have been tested as it wasn’t possible to fit the test rig over the anchor.

Rigging plans with all the tested anchors are available here, with the exception of Wrysgan which just needs double checking, all will be added to the Mine Inspection Reports folders available through Google Docs.

Several anchors failed during the tests (see video).

In several cases old 12mm SPIT type anchors (found in Wrysgan) pulled at relatively low loads. These all showed signs of corrosion. There are several Petzl long-life (see photo) anchors in Bwlch y Plwm that were not tested, if using these you do so at your own risk. Any expansion anchor to be tested really needs to have the anchor plate removed and the pull device attached directly to the anchoring component. This isn’t possible with the Petzl long-lifes. Petzl Longlife

Notably several anchors in Fish Caves failed, and frustratingly it was not possible to remove them. The failure mechanism looks to have been a resin/rock bond failure which suggests the holes were more cleaned throughly before placing the resin. The failed anchors are all on the second pitch in Fish Caves and so requires a slightly different approach to rigging (see rigging diagram). I’m afraid this is going to persecute the short!

Fish Caves is rigged predominantly with DMM anchors. These flex when the tested so it’s not unusual to see the resin around the head of the anchor crack (see the image of a passed anchor below). Do not be alarmed by this if using these anchors. However as will all anchors ultimately the user must make a decision if they feel it’s safe to use. Before each use check;

  • Do you recognise the anchor (i.e. is it PPE, manufactured by a reputable company)
  • Check for signs of corrosion
  • Is the anchor set properly (i.e. nor proud of the rock)
  • Check the anchor isn’t deformed or have any sharp edges (especially if tying in direct)
  • Does the rock around the anchor look sound?
  • Does the anchor move if twisted by hand

Please report any defective anchors through the mines inspections email account, through facebook or direct here:

Inspections week update (and Rhiwbach code change)

The mine inspections will be happening this week (1st – 4th April). We’ve revised the original plan a little as follows:

  • Monday: Fish Caves & Rhiwbach
  • Tuesday: Cwmorthin
  • Wednesday: Wrysgan & Bwlch y Plwm
  • Thursday: Minllyn & Gaewern (hopefully)

There’s opportunities during the week to accompany the mine engineer which can be incredibly insightful, however places are limited. If you’re keen please get in touch via the email addresses sent out with the itinerary to those registered to receive the reports, or to me directly.

Note that on Monday the 1st of April the code to Rhiwbach will be changed. This is likely to happen in the afternoon. If you’re planning a trip into the mine please check with whoever’s registered to receive the updates for the mines for the new code.

Gethin

Wrysgan rock fall

There’s been what looks like a small amount of rock fall on floor 2 of the mine, just before the roped climb to the third floor. The rock fall has come from an areas with a significant amount of water permeating through the rock together with an body of quarts.

Although it’s unlikely groups will gather in the area as it’s wet, it’s worth being aware of.

Rhiwbach parking area

We’ve been getting reports that the flooding last weekend has decimated the footpath leading down the quarry from the top entrance to the mine, and washed a significant amount of debris into the parking area at the foot of the quarry.

Parking may be limited for a while until we can get this addressed. Feel free to send any photos so we can illustrate the damage.