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I'm currently speculating whether the exploitation of lead/silver mining, such as that in the Peak District, could have be established and, to some degree, run by the Roman Military. It would seem the lead, silver and possibly copper that was won from the mines would be a significant strategic resource and may have fallen under state control at least for the years of establishment.

Do any of you guys know of any references to the Legions (I'm particularly interested in Legio XX) being involved in this sort of enterprise. It seems a military engineer would be easily the most qualified member of society to work in establishment/management of this field.
Soldiers might have supervised the miners, but I highly doubt that they themselves would have participated in mining. Mining back then, as it is in the modern era, was dangerous and backbreaking work relegated to criminals, the poor, Christians, dissidents, etc. Nevertheless, free (and skilled) labor were also present, and they might have been better off than the others.

A recent work, David Mattingly's Imperialism, Power, and Identity, dedicates a chapter to the history and archaeology of the Roman mines at Phaino, where numerous Christians met their deaths in the early 4th century: " an imperially controlled mining center, Phaino drew on a mixed pool of forced labor and free (perhaps migrant) workers. We know soldiers were present, but they appear to have been relatively few in number." (191)

By the way, I would not recommend Mattingly's book, unless you need to be reminded that Roman imperialism wasn't a charitable enterprise.
Many of the mines in Britain begin with military input and then appear to be run by a civilian contractor on behalf of the Province administration. (One could say all mines, but there's always the exception somewhere). For example, Luentinum (the gold mine in wales - or Dolaucothi if you want the modern name) has a Flavian fort nearby (Pumsaint) which was abandonned in approx 150 AD but workings on the mine are believed to go on until the early fourth century.

The complicated water pump/extraction system for the Luentinum mine may be the result of Legionary Engineer expertise. It is believed they mined to a depth of 30m and finally abandoned the mine shaft (as they did in the 1930s) because of flooding.

The other MAJOR impressive thing about this site is the system of leats and water tanks required to collect water to assist with the gold mining.

II Augusta were certainly involved in this and in silver mining in the South West of England. I see no reason why XX V.V. shouldn't have been doing the same too.

I know it is not silver/lead mining but for references about Dolaucothi, just google it and a wealth of info comes up (not just wikipaedia!!). I think the definitive archaeological report is the Barry and Helen Burnham book on the 1987 - 1999 excavations. The caution about this book is that it is about the excavations and not the mine and techniques as such, but interesting/useful nonetheless.
Quote:Many of the mines in Britain begin with military input and then appear to be run by a civilian contractor on behalf of the Province administration.

Yes, it seems that in some cases the administration of mines were farmed out to private citizens or organisations throughout the Empire, similar to today's awarding of contracts by the military to private companies to perform certain functions.

In Anatolia publicani handled various supply and logistics issues for the legions, including managing mines worked by slaves. Cicero mentions a salt mine being run like this in his Manilius speech, and in Mitchel's Anatolia he talks about this to a fair extent.

There appears to be a mix of authority: sometimes the imperial administration itself supervised the activity on behalf of the military, and sometimes the provincial administration did so. (Could this depend upon whether it was an imperial or senatorial province, perhaps?)
Thanks for all this. I can recall reading that legio XX had a lead mine. I think I read it in Malone's Legio XX Valeria Victrix,(BAR 1491, 2006) but I can't locate the ref so I may be wrong. Although this article by one "Jona Lendering" makes a clear reference to it;

hang on "Jona Lendering" "Ancient Warfare magazine" haven't I seen that somewhere before? come on Mr Lendering spill the beans where's the reference from?

If this was the case the Peak and Lutudarum would seem the obvious candidate;

due to proximity to the Peak lead deposits.

Although Wales/Flintshire is is the frame too;

It would make sense to control all the local lead production for the duration of the construction of Deva, and who better to adminster and secure the resource than the local military.
Imperial Mines and Quarries in the Roman World: Organizational Aspects 27 BC-AD 235, specifically in section 7.1.1, it describes in detail how private companies, as in the case of Lutudarum, were established as owners of these mines.

If I am reading correctly, ownership, as in the case of Lutudarum, was given to persons within the locality as civilian operators for a fixed fee. And ownership could only be transferred to other Colunii. I suspect Lutudarum was already a mine prior to the Romans arrival and they captured this site during the British conquest. Given the names of the proprietors of Lutudarum that are found on the led pigs, it is most likely these local Colunii (I hope I am understanding this correctly) where actually foreigners, that must have establish themselves in the area.

In the same section of the book, the author describes the criminal activities that commonly occurred by both the operators of these mines and the the populations.

So can we not assume that that Roman military was their as enforcers of contracts and executors of the law, punishing criminals with harsh penalties? As other works have stated such as Anton Stone 2009. the mines provided great wealth for people in the area the Romans called Lutudarumn for 1000 years. So perhaps the empire had an interest in protecting these entrepreneurs or perhaps they were wealthy enough to pay for the protection themselves.

I am not as well versed in the discussions as most of you, so please excuse any ignorance I may have exposed.
in section 5.2.3, the author discusses the role of Roman military specifically in the mining operations of Britain. (if the link does not work you may have to search the book for "5.2.3")