Ouro Prêto, Rua Santa Rita 21, Bairro do Padre Faria.
|Light:||Incandescent Electric Light System|
|Guided tours:||L=370 m.|
|Address:||Minas Velha, Antônio Otávio Germano, Rua Santa Rita 21, Ouro Prêto, Tel: +55-31-3551-7741.|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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Ouro Prêto sits right on an outcrop of banded iron formation. This formation is a sedimentary rock with many layers of iron ore, often altered to iron oxide especially ochre. There are also copper deposits, which sometimes are transformed to malachite. The dark rocks were the reason for its name Ouro Prêto which means black gold as a reference to the dark colour of the local gold, which contains a lot of iron oxides. However, the gold is mostly bound to gold bearing quartz veins, not to the iron.
As the name says, Minas Velha (Old Mine) is one of the oldest mines at Ouro Prêto. It was probably owned by Felipe dos Santos, a famous member of the Inconfidência Mineira (Mine Conspiracy) of 1789. See Minas Fonte Meu Bem Querer for more info on this story.
Beneath gold veins the mine also contained ocre (ochre), which was used for paintings and malacacheta (malachite), a green copper mineral.
The mine was open to the public around 2007, one of only three show mines at that time. It is also listed on Wikipedia, but without a wikipedia page, and it seems to be closed now. It is not listed on the list of show mines on the municipal website. As we were not able to find any recent info on this mine we decided to mark it as closed.