Mine de Cuivre la Lée à Zinal

Copper Mine of La Lée

Useful Information

Location: From Lausanne use N1 and N9 exit Sion Est, follow road towards Sierre and St. Léonard, turn south at Sierre to Zinal. 60 minutes walk from Zinal.
(46.106360, 7.629940)
Open: Mid-JUN to mid-JUN Wed 11-16.
Mid-JUL to mid-AUG Wed, Fri 11-16.
Mid-AUG to OCT Wed 11-16.
Français - French 11, 13, 15.
English 12, 14.
Fee: Adults CHF 9, Children (6-16) CHF 5.
Classification: MineCopper Mine
Light: bring torch
Dimension: A=1,937 m asl, T=3-10 °C.
Guided tours: D=45 min, L=527 m, Max=15. Français - French English
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: Maignanm. (1988): La Mine de cuivre de la Lée, Zinal, Minaria Helvetica, Jg. 1988, Nr. 8a, pp. 43ff
Address: Tourist Office, 3961 Zinal, Tel: +41-27-4751370, Fax: +41-27-4752977.
Mine de Cuivre de la Lée, Tzoucdana, 3961 Zinal, Tel: +41-27-476-1705. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1832 copper ores discovered in the area.
1856 start of mining works.
1900-1902 peak of the mining activity.
1903 mine closed.
1997 opened to the public.


The Mine de Cuivre de la Lée (La Lée Copper Mine) is located high above the village Zinal in the Val d'Anniviers. There are some 20 abandoned copper mines in the area, but this is the only one open to the public. As it is located high above the valley on the mountainside there is a 1.5 h ascend to the mine. During Summer the mine is open daily with five tours in French and English. Meeting point is at the mine, so you should be at the mine at the starting time, which allows to walk up as fast or slow as you like.

An outstanding example of the mining industry in Val d'Anniviers, the Copper Mine of La Lée allows one to appreciate the history of men and copper and to relive the exciting adventure of mining in the Alps. We know that copper (chalcopyrites) was discovered in the "Lalay" mountains as early as 1832. Several requests for concessions followed and excavations began in 1856. However, the full exploitation of the Mine did not start until before the end of the century, with production reaching a peak between 1900 and 1902. The Mine also shows the difficulties encountered in exploiting alpine deposits and due to the difficult conditions of working, transporting and manufacturing, the Mine closed in 1903. This is the only copper mine open to the public in Switzerland! Interesting for its historical, social and technical aspects, the Copper Mine of La Lée will appeal to all visitors, who should wear good shoes and warm clothes. Inside the mine, models and display boards explain the work of the miners and the formation of the Alps.

Text by Tony Oldham (JUN-2001). With kind permission.