Miniera di Masua


Useful Information

Location: From Iglesias SS126 west to Statione Monteponi, turn right SP83 to Fontanamare, Nebida and Masua. Turn left and folllow road to parking lot at the end. Tickets sold at the beach bar.
Open: Miniera di Masua: no restrictions.
Porto Flavia: Tue-Thu 9:30-12:30, Fri, Sat 9:30-16:30, Sun, Mon 9:30-17:45.
Macchine da Miniera: after appointment.
[2020]
Fee: Miniera di Masua: free.
Porto Flavia: Adults EUR 10, Children (8-12) EUR 6.50, Seniors (65+) EUR 6.50.
Groups (20+): Adults EUR 8, School Pupils EUR 67.50.
Macchine da Miniera: Adults EUR 3, Children (6-12) EUR 1, Children (0-5) free, Seniors (65+) EUR 1.
Groups (20+): Adults EUR 2, School Pupils EUR 1.
[2020]
Classification: MineLead Mine MineZinc Mine
Light: electric.
Dimension:
Guided tours: D=60min. Italiano - Italian English
Photography: photography allowed, video only witht written authorization from the Municipality of Iglesias
Accessibility: yes, after appointment
Bibliography:
Address: Miniera di Masua, Località Masua, 09016 Iglesias SU, Tel: +39-0781-274507.
Museo delle Macchine da Miniera, IGEA SpA, Tel: +39-0781-4913-95. 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

17tzh cty early mining.
1813 first exploration by the priest Don Carlo Negretti.
1862 mining of new ore bodies and foundry erected by engineer A. Bonacossa.
1884 mine owned by the Societa Montesanto and the largest mine of the island.
1922 acquired by the Belgian Company Vieille Montagne.
1922 begin of construction for loading facilities.
1924 loading facilities completed.
1940s Masua mine sold.
1952 modern flotation plant built, ores from other mines transported through the plant to Porto Flavia.
1960s Porto Flavia abandoned.
1991 last mines closed, plant closed.

Geology

The limestone contains ore bodies of calamine and galena in cracks or dykes. The typical minerals found at this mine are anglesite, arsenopyrite, calcite, cerussite, hemimorphite, galena argentifera, grenokite, hydrozincite, sphalerite and smithsonite.


Description

The Miniera di Masua is a mine with a view, located above the cliff of the Sardinian coast. The view is breathtaking, on the mine harbour Porto Flavia and the Pan di Zucchero, a limestone rock in the middle of the cove. This situation has some strategic possibilities: it is quite easy to load the ore on ships! The mine was opened in the mid 19th century. The ores were transported to the harbour by sailors from Carloforte, in wicker baskets placed on their shoulders. Then it was loaded on small sailing boats called bilancelles which transported it to Carloforte Island harbor, where it was manually unloaded and stored for the next steamship. Its heydays of the mine were at the end of the century with 700 workers. The construction of the port revived the mine, but in the 1930s the world wide economic crisis caused a continuous decline. The mine was finally closed in the 1990s and there is no underground tour available, probably you can find some minerals on the slag heaps.

The Porto Flavia is the actual interesting site at this location. It is located in the middle of the cliff face and is reached from the parking lot at the end of the road through an underground tunnel. And while this tunnel was part of the mine, it was actually not built for mining, but for the transport of ores to the harbour.

The current installations were created after the Belgian Company Vieille Montagne acquired the mine in 1922. They commissioned the Italian engineer Cesare Vecelli to build a loading system, and he excavated nine huge silos inside the rock. They can hold 10,000 tons of ore. There were two tunnels, one on top of the silos from which they were filled with ore from the mine. The lower tunnel was equipped with a conveyor belt and a movable arm to load the ore onto steamboats which were floating right below. It took up to three days to fill the ship completely, the sea is quite deep in front of the rock allowing big ships, one of the reasons Vecelli selected this place. Vecelli named the new port Porto Flavia after his daughter Flavia Vecelli.

The harbour was so important, after the Masua mine was closed in the 1950s the site became a center for mineral treatment of other nearby mines. In 1952 a modern 300-ton flotation plant was built. The mines were connected by long tunnels, like the 12km long Ornella tunnel to the Acquaresi mine. The Lanusei tunnel connected the Tacconis mine to Masua. The ore was transported to Masua by mine train, here it was preprocessed and then stored in the silos. When the steamboat arrived it was filled as fast as possible and it transported the ore to the furnaces of Europe.

The mining location is completed by the Museo delle Macchine da Miniera (museum of mining machinery) in Masua at the turnoff from SP83. This museum shows more than 70 machines which once were used in the mines of the area. This includes picks, pneumatic hammers and drills, excavators, and the carts and wagons of the mine trains. Mining machinery was often developed on site, by the mine technicians who adapted technical inventions for local use. Or manufacturers needed the feedback for new designs. One of the local specialties is the auto-excavator Montevecchio, a prototype which was designed and built by the workshops of the company. When it was tested they sold the patent to Società Atlas Copco.