When John Buddle of Newcastle was asked to evaluate some Portuguese coal mines (1818)

José Manuel Brandão, Robert Vernon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In about 1818, John Buddle, the prominent coal viewer (manager) and owner of several coal mines in Durham and Northumberland (North-East England), was asked by the Portuguese Consul in Liverpool, António Julião da Costa, to advise on the feasibility of the coal mines at Oporto and Buarcos, in Portugal. It was agreed that an inspection of the mines was needed prior to any kind of business agreement, so Buddle sent one of his engineers to Portugal later that year. The engineer's conclusions were not positive enough to interest Buddle. Despite that, Da Costa presented the subject to the Portuguese government, with a proposal to lease the mines to a private company, led or mediated by himself, that would use English mining experience and technology. Although he didn’t get an answer, six years later (1825), the Portuguese government announced the end of the state monopoly on coal exploration awarding the concession of those mines to a private group of capitalists.
This paper revisits the main conclusions of the study undertaken by the English engineers and the steps taken by the Portuguese Consul.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-49
Number of pages19
JournalBritish Mining -Memoirs
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Coal mines
  • John Buddle
  • Buarcos
  • S. Pedro da Cova
  • Julião da Costa
  • George Hunter


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