In 1850, iron ore deposits were discovered in the area which turned out to be the second largest iron ore deposits in the country, with over 7 million tons of ore extracted. By 1896, 547 men were employed in the pits by the village, 347 of them underground. Several hundred others worked in local mines at Mouzell (between Ireleth and Dalton-in-Furness, Roanhead and Dalton. Four blast furnaces were built in the village to smelt the iron ore being brought from mines all over the peninsula by rail. The village continued to grow with terraced houses and allotments erected for the flood of immigrant labour needed to work the mines.
Remnants of the steel industry remain in Askam, as evidenced by a pier, consisting of slag from the works, that juts out into the bay toward Millom, By 1918, the iron ore had run out and most of the industrial buildings were demolished in 1933. Since then, Askam has grown with commuter homes, exploiting the views over the Duddon Estuary to the Lake District.