The mining territory

The mine of Montevecchio

The mining area of Montevecchio in the province of the Middle Campidano is 10 km from Guspini on the north- west side and extends for about 12 km along the west coast of Sardinia following the lead and zinc vein between the territory of the municipalities of Guspini and Arbus. It is one of the eight sites that are part of the Geo-mining Park of Sardinia and can now be visited to see the many sites that testify to the mining activity that took place from 1848 until 1991. Along the road that leads from Guspini to the village of Gennas (better known as Montevecchio) and then sloping down to the sea through the territory of Arbus, you can see the facilities that have profoundly marked the history of the municipalities nearby. Proceeding from Guspini to the mining village you will soon see the construction sites of Levante, the first of which are the mud dam known as Diga Fanghi and the buildings of Sciria, from where the train full of mineral headed to San Gavino used to leave. If you continue your way up you can see the rectangular tanks still full of water which reflect the Prince Thomas washery, an imposing construction built in 1887 and still operating until 1991. A little higher up, the noticeable Well of Sartori made of reinforced concrete, and just beyond the washery, there is the Well of St. John. The hoist and compressors room of this last well stores interesting and undamaged machineries. The recently restored well is over 200 meters deep and is built entirely of stones and face bricks, it was used to put six galleries in touch and served the construction site of Piccalinna. Along the hairpin turns that lead to the top you can see the well of St. Anthonio and its characteristic crenellated tower, which – according to the popular architectural tradition of the years between 800 and 900 – shows an undeniable neo-Gothic style.

Nowadays, the wide areas of Montevecchio have been recovered by the mining industry and take on a new life becoming a place for stable and temporary exhibitions: a meeting place for local fairs, festivals, exhibitions and cultural events of various kinds.


The mine of Ingurtosu

Ingurtosu "Su Gurtosu", as it was called in ancient times, belongs territorially to the Municipality of Arbus (Cagliari).
We can say that Ingurtosu and, although certainly to a lesser extent, Gennamari were very important mining realities for the economy of the arburese-guspinese area. After the research carried out by companies or individual entrepreneurs who have succeeded each other in over a century since the birth of the Sardinian Kingdom, on February 16, 1855 with Royal Decree two Ligurian traders, Marco and Luigi CALVO, obtained the Concession in perpetuity of the Gennamari mine.

In 1857 the two traders sold the concession to the ‘Civil Society of the mines of Gennamari and Ingurtosu’. In the last thirty years of 1800 there were innovative interventions that radically changed the Mines of Ingurtosu and gennamari. Meanwhile, in 1871 we proceeded to the construction of the private railway section that will connect the mineral treatment plants to the beautiful beach of Piscinas, part of which was granted on February 26, 1875 for the construction of a warehouse in which to deposit the ore to be boarded in the balance sheets of Carloforte for transport to the Island of San Pietro. The warehouses will be, in the 50s of 1900, the ones transformed into a marine colony for the children of the miners who could in this enjoy a stay in the splendid environment of Piscinas where the dunes of very fine sand dominate and a beach still highly appreciated today.
It was, however, at the end of the century that the majority of the stock package passed into the hands of that Lord Brassey who with the “Pertusola Limited” intensified the development of the mines with the start of important works: the Laveria of Naracauli, called “Laveria Brassey” (right in honour of the president of the Company) inaugurated in 1900, Lambert well to improve accessibility to the subsoil, the introduction of automatic drilling machines and cable cars for the transport of the ore from Gennamari to Naracauli.
It should be added that other structures were built for mining. In 1880 the construction of a treatment plant, the Laveria di Bau, was authorised in an area rich in woods and streams of very fresh water. The story of a ‘guided tour’ made in Bau will introduce some curiosities of the ‘lived’ life in the village built around the mining plants.

The mine stopped in '43: many miners were fired. In '46 the situation improved but the crisis began that had to lead to the closure of Ingurtosu: to the impoverishment of the Brassey shipyard was added the fall in metal prices. The strikes of the fifties were not only against the hated ‘Patto Aziendale’ that we will also see in Montevecchio but against the precarious working conditions and the extreme danger of the construction sites.

In the mid-sixties Ingurtosu passed from Pertusola to Monteponi-Montevecchio which in 1973 renounced mining concessions.


Mine of Canale Serci

Old Mine of lead, zinc, silver and pond located not far from the artificial lake of Monti Mannu (19 million square metres).

A research permit for silver galena had been in force since 1875, but only in 1932 was the concession given to the Società Anonima Monti Mannu and extended for tin minerals.

In 1938 the mine was acquired by the Valerio Society of Rome of the AMMI Group and thanks to this company the mining activity had a considerable impulse; in fact in this period the laundry room and some buildings for the workers were built. The cultivation works affected the galleries San Giuseppe (490 m.slm), San Sisinnio (445 m.slm), Madama (400 m.slm) and Santa Barbara (335 m.slm).

On the other hand, the first problems also arose with the peasants who used the waters of the river Leni to irrigate the fields; in fact, the waste water of the laundry was discharged directly onto the river and the peasants asked for the intervention of the head of government, Mussolini.

In 1945 the mine was still in operation and employed 151 workers in Villacidro. During the wartime, mining activity was discontinued and resumed in 1946, limiting itself only to the exploration of quartz strands. Mixed sulphides were sought mainly on 2 quartz strands about 2 km long at the contact between granite and the shale.

The Canale Serci mine was closed in 1947 because its exploitation had now become uneconomic.
Numerous testimonies of buildings and structures still remain of the Canale Serci mine: the large laundry room, some structures once used as accommodation for miners, the management building, currently renovated and used as offices of the Forest Authority of Sardinia and numerous tunnels and landfills.

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