Balás Jenő Bauxitbányászati Múzeum


Useful Information

Location: Gánt, Bányatelep 23, 8082 Magyarország.
(47.367816, 18.387845)
Open: Mid-MAR to 15-NOV Mon-Sun, Hol 10-18.
16-NOV to mid-MAR Sat, Sun 10-17.
[2022]
Fee: Adults HUF 900, Children HUF 500, Students HUF 500, Seniors HUF 500.
[2022]
Classification: MineClay Mine
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=100 m, Ar=360 m².
Guided tours: self guided.
Museum: D=30 min.
Trail: L=3.5 km, D=90 min.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:  
Address: Balás Jenő Bauxitbányászati Múzeum és Földtani Park, Geológiai Látogatóközpont, 8082, Gánt Bányatelep 1., Tel: +36-22-354-485, Tel: +36-20-989-3673. 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

1920 bauxite deposit discovered the mining engineer Jenő Balás.
1926 bauxit mining begins.
1930s one of the world's largest bauxite mines.
1953 peak production with 600,000 tons.
1987 mines closed.
2022 new reception building on the edge of the mine opened.

Geology

The bauxite was of high quality, with a high proportion of titanium, zirconium, chromium, gallium and beryllium in addition to low silica. The bauxite layers were overlaying karstified dolomite and also filled cracks and caves in the dolomite.

Description

The Balás Jenő Bauxitbányászati Múzeum (Jenő Balás Bauxite Mining Museum) is a quite exceptional show mine. There is no underground tour, just a museum in a faked mine tunnel, and a landscape which looks like on Mars, with red rocks.

In 1920, the mining engineer Jenő Balás (*1882-✝1938) found a huge bauxite deposit right outside the insignificant, quiet little village Gánt. The bauxite was mined six yeqars later and in a few years the mine became one of the major bauxite producer in the world. The peak production in 1953 was 600,000 tons, in total the mine produced 10,000,000 tons of bauxite. There were actually several open casts, the last was opened in the 1980s. But in 1987 all the mines were closed, because they were no longer profitable. Obviously a result of the political and economic changes at the end of the Cold War. But also the easily extractable deposits were all mined out.

The huge open cast mines were recultivated. Only the last mine was transformed into a unique geological open-air museum. There is a parking lot at the road from Gánt, on the far side is the new visitor center and ticket office. The museum shows the equipment which was used for mining the bauxite, mostly narrow gauge railroad trains and conveyor belts. There are all kinds of locomotives, mostly diesel powered, which is different from underground mines. In the underground electric trains were preferred, because the produce no poisonous gas. In open cast mines this was not important, so they used the cheapest technology. In the early days even steam locomotives were used. The cars are mostly transport lorries for the mined bauxite, but there is also a miner train which was used to bring the workers to their workplace and back.

The museum was created inside a short mine tunnel which was actually excavated for this purpose. They call it a mining model, M=1:1, and used the 100 m long tunnel to demonstrate the various kinds of support. The demonstrated support techniques include trapezoidal shaft, gate arch, trapezoid, concrete dome, mechanical steel support and hydraulic aluminium support. These are actually translated Hungarian terms, those support styles have different local names in any mining area. The museum is quite big, it has a surface of 360 m². And while the atmosphere inside feels like a real mine, it is actually fake, open cast mines did not require any tunnels.

The geological trail through the quarry is quite impressive. It shows bauxite deposits, karst features of the underlying dolomite, and many other geological specialties. it is also impressive from the aesthetic value, as the remaining deposits actually have numerous reddish and brownish colours. There are explanatory signs along the trail, unfortunately only in Hungarian. The quarry and the trail are accessible only during open hours. As the trails are mostly clay and bauxite, we recommend dry weather for the walk. In wet weather the walk could become a mud fight. If it is hot and sunny, sun protection is essential, as there is no shadow inside the quarry.