Manganese Mining at Rhiw

The Manganese mines at Rhiw was a major project in its day, with over 195.000 tons mined between 1840 and 1945, with a peak in production in 1906 of over 17.000 tons. There were six mines in all but only three of them were a viable operation. And production stopped completely several times during this period.

Gweithwyr Benallt 1944/45           Benallt Miners 1944/45

When mining first started donkeys were used to carry the ore to Porth Cadlan where it was loaded onto small sailing vessels for export to Ellesmere Port, Cheshire. When production increased two jetties were constructed, one at Porth Ysgo and the other at Hells Mouth, the Porth Ysgo jetty was fed by a railway system from the Quarry while the Hells Mouth jetty used a cable car arrangement that ran over the village and down the steep hill to the beach. Up to the mid seventies some of the buckets used could still be seen on the hillside, but I had a good look recently, and they have all rotted away. But there is still a lot of other remnants that can still be seen, both at Nant Gadwen and at the Rhiw hillside quarry.


Porth Ysgo Ships.

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"Two of the little mango ships"


Below is a list of some of the little steam ships that loaded manganese at the Porth Ysgo jetty between 1910 and 1925. The "May Flower" was there on May 3d 1910 and loaded 315 tonnes. The jetty was used for the last time in 1927. 


SS Seala, SS Madey, SS Eborth, SS Tryfan, SS Dayse, SS Pilgrim, SS Conovan,

SS Florence, SS Agnes Ellen, SS Monks, SS Elizabeth, SS May Flower, SS Silverfield,

SS Anne Summerfield, SS Mary Summerfield, SS Jessie Summerfield, SS Amy Summerfield,

SS Maddie, SS Susenu, SS Lincolnshire, SS Jim Mungs, SS Kratta, SS Catherine,

Carlingford Loch,   Maud,   Jennie,   Sara Anne,   Mabel,   Dora,   Rebecca.


Thanks to Mr E Morris for this information. 


Gweithwyr Benallt 1938 / 45


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Nant Gadwen Today

Benallt 1907 Moelwyn View

Hells Mouth jetty

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Porth Ysgo

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Manganese Nuggets


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Old Boiler Hells Mouth

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Nant Gadwen Today


Porth Ysgo Jetty

"Cable Car" Gwaith Rhiw


More manganese mine photographs


A recorded chat between Wilf Ryan, Madryn  (Abersoch later), Lewis Jones, (Llanbedrog then),  Frondeg, Rhiw, and Huw Jones, Tegfan, Hebron, concerning the manganese mines of Rhiw.  Lewis Jones was  90  in  1980,  when the recording was made, Wilf Ryan would be  63.   Lewis Jones was born in  1890,  left school in  1903,  at  13  years of age, got his driving licence in  1912.

Tape one         Tape two

The names of all that worked at Benallt 1938 / 45


The Story of the Manganese mines at Rhiw could fill a book, and it has with an excellent account by Wil Williams, Rhoshirwaun, called (The Llyn Peninsula Mines) by Gwasg Carreg Gwalch, Llanrwst, Tel 01492 642031.




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