Les mines de Pioch Farrus

Pioch Farrus Mine - Mine de Cabrières


Useful Information

Location: Near Cabrières.
At the first houses from Villeneuvette turn left, across the bridge. After 500 m turn left again. Signposted.
(43.579318580958340, 3.371487146520245)
Open: Closed.
[2022]
Fee: Closed.
[2022]
Classification: MineCopper Mine
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: T=15 °C.
Guided tours: L=185 m, D=45 min.
Photography:
Accessibility: yes
Bibliography: P. Ambert, H. Barge, C. Landes (1985): Les mines de cuivre de Pioch Farrus (Cabrières, Hérault), Préhistoire et Antiquité in Etudes languedociennes, Congrès Actes du 110 Congrès National des Sociétés Savantes
Jean Luc Esperou, Pierre Roques (2008): Les Mines De Cabrieres, L'exploitation des cuivres argentifères depuis la fin du IIIe millénaire avant notre ère. A4, 180pp.
Address: Les mines de Pioch Farrus, 34800 Cabrieres, Herault-Languedoc, Tel: +33-467-390318, Cell: +33-614-914602, Fax: +33-467-962638. E-mail: contact
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

1983 mine discovered.
2008 book about the mine by Jean Luc Espérou published.
2010 mine bought by the municipality of Cabrières.

Geology

The mining followed a cleft which was filled with a quartz vein containing copper bearing minerals like azurite and malachite. Less common are the ores tetrahedrite and chalcopyrite.

Description

Les mines de Pioch Farrus (Pioch Farrus Mine) is an ancient copper mine, which was mined 5,000 years ago during the Chalcolithic. It is the oldest copper mine of France. The underground tour shows a 200 m long tunnel, where copper for axes, awls, pearls, and daggers was mined. It shows remains of three periods of mining: prehistoric, Roman and 19th century.

The whole area is rich in prehistoric mining remains. There are several deposits of copper minerals in the area, which were mined at eight locations: Font de Nuque, Vallarade, Pioch Farrus, La Roussignole, Mougno, Combemalle, Autimergues, and Mas Rouch. The ore was processed and the smelted on seven locations: Roque Fenestre, Valat Grand, Capitelle du Broum, Pioch Farrus, Pioch de Jaffet, Pitrous, and Mougno. At the Pioch Farrus location there are nine mines.

The tour is very easy and possible for handicapped, as the 200 m of tunnel are completely flat. Helmets are provided. There is a small exhibition and first introductions are given on a computer.

The show mine was operated by Jean Luc Espérou, who also published a book about the site in 2008. Shortly afterwards he died and the show mine was closed. In 2010 the site was bought by the municipality with the intention to reopen it. Unfortunately this never happened. The site is still maintained by the non-profit association ACAC who offer surface hikes for groups. But the underground show mine is closed for the public. The only site which is still open to the public is a small geological museum which is located in Cabrieres at a winery called L'Estabel. The exhibition explains the local geology and mining history.