A MAJOR project to fill in a collapsed mine shaft will begin today – eight months after it caved in.

Last September villagers in Rhes-y-Cae were horrified to discover a 40ft wide hole had opened up on Halkyn Mountain just yards away from Ysgol Rhes-y-Cae.

It was the second time a mineshaft had collapsed in the area after a 23ft wide hole opened up in the same spot in June 2010.

Land owners Grosvenor Estate have spent months working with specialist advisers to investigate the hole and identify the most suitable way to make the site fully secure.

Mineshaft experts M&J Drilling have now been appointed to undertake the remediation works which are scheduled to start today.

Once the hole has been filled the security fencing will remain in place and the site will be monitored for six months, with the aim of restoring the area to open grassland as soon as possible.

Speaking on behalf of Grosvenor Estate, Edwin Christmas said: “Since the incident at Rhes-y-Cae last year, we have been monitoring the situation and are very glad to be in a position where  the remediation works can now be carried out.

“Work on site is expected to last no more than three weeks and will be restricted to between 8am and 6pm on weekdays.

“Every effort will be made to minimise disruption for the community, however there is likely to be increased traffic during this period due to deliveries to the site and some drilling noise. We apologise in advance for any inconvenience caused.

“We’ve been fortunate to have had the co-operation of the community, including Rhes-y-Cae school, throughout our investigations.

“We’d like to thank residents for their ongoing patience and support as we work towards securing the site for the future.”

Ward councillor Colin Legg said the community was thrilled safety would soon be restored at the site.

He added: “I am glad to see they are actually going to do something about it, but the reason it has taken so long is because it is not a straightforward infill.

“Thorough seismic research has shown that as well as the direct shaft going down, there are two cavities either side that could lead to further subsidence at a later date.

“In a few weeks it will be completely filled in and safety will be restored.

“It will be a relief to see the work done, especially for the school and houses within 25 yards of the hole.

“While necessary safety precautions have been taken, it has stopped a right of way going across the mountain, which we are looking forward to be able to use again.”

Mr Christmas added such incidents are rare. He said: “Fortunately, mineshaft collapses on the scale of the one in Rhes-y-Cae only occur rarely, but smaller incidents do happen from time and time.

“These types of incidents demonstrate the need for us to carefully manage the area to minimise any potential risks to the safety and interests of land users.”