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It is situated on rocks rich in lead and silver and during a lengthy period in the 18th and 19th centuries, Ystumtuen was a busy mining village. With the demise of the lead mining industry and in particular the closure of Cwm Rheidol mine, the population dwindled rapidly with the last ancestral population disappearing in the 1970s. This may in part have been due to the high lead content of the local spring sources. The village was re-populated for a time in the 1970s by hippy communities, and in recent years the population has been steadily increasing.
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