Mina Victòria


Useful Information

Location: Bossòst, Vall d’Aran.
(42.77525687758527, 0.7155296690545292)
Open: JUL to AUG daily 11-15.
[2020]
Fee: Adults EUR 3, Children (11-15) EUR 2, Children (0-10) free, Seniors EUR 2, Students EUR 2.
Groups (15+): Adults EUR 2.
[2020]
Classification: MineLead Mine MineZinc Mine
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: T=9 °C.
Guided tours: L=2,000 m.
Hike: L=5.5 km, VR=382 m, D=2 h.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:
Address: Mina Victòria, Tel: +34-973-641-815. 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.

History

1912 mine produces 80t of ore per day.
1912 Bossòst mineral washer opened.
1936 mine closed due to the Spanish Civil War.
1949 mining resumed.
1953 mine finally closed due to the fall in the price of zinc.
2004 opened to the public.

Geology

The area has a Zn-Pb-Fe stratiform deposit in Ordovician schists, quartzites and limestones, and Silurian black slates. The primary mineralization was highly modified by metamorphism during Hercynian tectonics, some Late-Hercynian granite pegmatite dikes. The main mined ore was sphalerite, a zinc sulfide, from veins or mineralised levels. Other common minerals are actinolite, aurichalcite, calcite, chalcopyrite, galena, goethite, graphite, hematite, malachite, muscovite, pyrite, pyrrhotite, quartz, sphalerite, and tremolite. The most important veins were named Filó de l’Artiga or Milagro, Filó Nord-est, Filó Principal and Filó Primitivo.

Description

During its heyday in the early 20th century 80 tons of ore were extracted daily from the Mina Victòria. It provided work for 100 to 150 miners, and was the economic backbone of the Vall d’Aran. It was the most important mine of the valley because its location allowed it to be operated year round. The most productive time was before World War I. With the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) the mines was closed. Later reopened the mine never reached its former importance again. Finally closed in 1953 the mine was abandoned due to the fall in the price of zinc. It remained closed for 50 years before it was reopened as a show mine. There are also plans to open nearby Margalida-Mine for the public, but as far as we know this has not happened yet.

The guided tour of the Mina Victòria shows the Sacosta Gallery. On the 2 km long tour many aspects of the local high altitude zinc and lead mining are explained. The mine employed between 100 and 150 miners. Inside the mine there were three kinds of workers, miners drilled and extracted the ore, shorers reinforced walls and ceilings with wood, and labourers carried the material. Outside there were labourers transporting the ore, mechanics, electricians, and others who provided the necessary infrastructure, tools and materials. The miners and shorers were men from other mining regions in Spain, which had the necessary knowledge. All other jobs were done by locals, so the mine was of great importance for the local economy.

The mine operated 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There were rotating shifts and the machines were running continually. Stopping the machines took time, restarting them also, which meant economic losses. This was actually the biggest plus of the mine, unlike the other mines in the area it was possible to operate this mine year round.

The tour also tells about the life of the women and children, which worked at the mineral washing area or bocard. The raw material from the mine was pre-sorted at the mine entrance before it was transported downhill to Bossòst by mules. While the men worked at the mine, the women and children had the difficult job of separating the minerals from the raw material. It was hard work, wet, cold, and sometimes dangerous.

The mine is located uphill from the village Bossòst. In the city center turn off N-230 across the river. The road wind uphill in many serpentines to the village Arres de Jos, right before the village at the first houses turn left to the Bassa d'Arres lake. The tour to the mine starts at the lake and is a two hour hike, following signs showing a wagon. Halfway is the visitor centre which was built into the former engine room. Here the guided tour into the Sacòsta gallery starts. Sturdy walking boots and appropriate clothes are required for the hike and the underground tour.