I understand Pindale Mine near Castleton was run by Robert How Ashton pretty much on that basis at the end of the 19th century, as he'd wound up Hazard, Odin, etc., and wanted to keep the local miners working as long as he could. I doubt he made much profit on it, but left a fantastic engine-house.
William Wyatt had some of his miners working on mines/trials that were highly unlikely to turn a profit even if the price of lead picked up in the mid 1830s during a slump. There was a reason for taking this loss; by that time, most of the commons had been enclosed and if the poorer miners ended up out of work, they tended to migrate to the collieries whereas in pre-enclosure times they might have been able to at least survive in their villages until things got better. Given skilled miners weren't as thick on the ground as they had been in the previous century, it made sense to put men on make-work during bad times, also to pay gratuities to injured miners to prevent them falling into debt and likewise end up moving to the coalfields for guaranteed work.