Miniera della Bagnada

Miniera di Steatite


Useful Information

Location: Lanzada, Val Malenco. From the Lago di Como, northern end, follow the SS38 into Val Lesina. After 40km in Sünder turn left (north) into Val Malenco on SP15. In Vassalini at roundabout turn right to Lanzada, follow the main road which climbs the northern side of the valley until it reaches the mine. The mine is reached after 20min on an uphill path.
Open: All year by reservation.
Online booking on website at least three days before the scheduled date for the visit.
[2020]
Fee: Adults EUR 11, Children (5-12) EUR 8, Children (0-4) not allowed, Seniors EUR 8.
Groups (15+): Adults EUR 8.
[2020]
Classification: talc mine
Light: electric.
Dimension: A=1180m.
Guided tours: D=90min.
Photography:
Accessibility:
Bibliography:
Address: Miniera della Bagnada, Lanzada Loc. Bagnada, 23020 Sondrio SO, Tel: +39-0342 454203.. E-mail:
Sondrio and Valmalenco Tourist Consortium, Tel: +39-0342-451150.
Municipality of Lanzada, Tel: +39-0342-453243.
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 talc discovered, mine opened.
1980s mine closed.
2008 show mine opened to the public.

Geology

The mining here is exceptional, as all other mines in the area are based on hydrothermal polymetallic ores, mainly with zinc and copper. This mine produced talc, but also serpentinite and soapstone. This are metamorphic rocks, which is a result of the northern location of Lanzada, which is already in the area of the central alps. While Northern and Southern alps are composed of the sedimentary rocks - mostly limestone and dolomite - which were deposited in the tethys before the alpine orogeny, the central part of the alps was uplifted higher and all sedimentary rocks are eroded. As a result the underlying metamorphic core of the orogeny is exposed. This area is producing far more minerals and ores, and of course valuable metamorphic rocks.

The mine exploits the Brusada-Largone talc body, which consists of two 5-10m thick veins. Each vein has a carbonate-rich contact zone towards the embedding serpentinite and a central talc schist zone with dolomite nodules. Interesting minerals can be found in the waste heaps, like magnesite and dolomite crystals, forsterite, magnetite, and apatite in calcite veins. But also native copper, millerite, pyrite, and more in hydrothermal clefts.

Talc is the softest known mineral with a hardness of 1 on the Mohs Scale, actually talc is the reference for 1. Talc (Mg3Si4O10(OH)2) in powdered form, often in combination with corn starch, is widely used as baby powder. As it is a thickening agent and lubricant, it is an ingredient in many cosmetic products, ceramics, paint, and roofing material. Soapstone is a metamorphic rock composed predominantly of talc, it is used for sculptures, pots, as window sills, and for fire places. Talc results from the metamorphism of magnesian minerals such as serpentine, pyroxene, amphibole, and olivine. Serpentine is used as a source of magnesium and asbestos, and as a decorative stone.


Description

The Miniera della Bagnada tour has three parts, the mine, the mining museum and the mineralogical museum. The mine has nine levels, the show mine shows four of them, which is quite impressive. Those levels and tunnels have various functions. Beneath exploited veins there are service tunnels, walkways, search tunnels, and slopes. The secured hut for the explosives, where the explosives were stored and the charges prepared, is also on the tour. A huge cavern called Camerone is also used for concerts because of its good acoustics. Trolleys, drills and acetylene lamps are demonstrated. But probably the most impressive detail are the characteristic snow-white walls of the mine. This makes the mine quite bright even with the dimmest light.

The Museo Minerario (mining heritage museum) shows many objects donated by local families. Typical for the talc mine is the lavécc, a hydraulic lathe which was used to produce the characteristic soapstone pots. The oldes in the museum originated from the 18th century.

The Museo Mineralogico (Lanzada mineralogical museum) is specialized on local minerals, not only from this mine but from Val Malenco. And those are quite interesting and variated because the valley is in the central Alps with metamorphic rocks. In only a few square kilometers 265 different minerals are found. Two minerals, artinite and brugnatellite, have their type location here. They were found here first in the early 1900s. And others are of such great quality that they are said to be the best of the world. One example is the demantoid, a green variety of garnet, which is found in Val Malenco in the Miniera di Franscia.