The anhydrite mines in Billingham have been opened for the first time in almost 30 years. Inspectors have explored the cavernous mines in a bid to assess whether they are in a suitable condition for use as a long-term disposal facility for low-hazard waste.
The mines were worked from 1927 until 1971, and closed when the mine shaft was capped off in 1978. The tunnels are 11 million cubic metres - roughly the size of 4,400 Olympic swimming pools - and two thirds lie under Billingham, while the other third lies under the Cowpen Industrial Estate.
Oct 17 2007 by James Johnston, Evening Gazette, http://www.gazettelive.co.uk/news/teesside-news/2007/10/17/mines-re-opened-after-30-years-of-inspection-84229-19960747