Museu Mineiro do Lousal


Useful Information

Location: South of Grândola. From Lisbon take A2 (E1) south, exit Grândola south, IC1 south, after 9 km turn right to Lousal.
Open: All year Tue-Sun, Hol 10-18.
Closed 01-JAN, 24-DEC, 25-DEC, 31-DEC.
Galeria Waldemar: daily 15.
[2020]
Fee: Museu Mineiro: Adults EUR 4, Children (4-17) EUR 3, Students EUR 3, Seniors EUR 3, Family EUR 10.
Centro Ciência Viva: Adults EUR 5, Children (4-17) EUR 4, Students EUR 4, Seniors EUR 4, Family EUR 12.50.
Galeria Waldemar: Adults EUR 6, Family EUR 17.50.
Groups (10+): Museu Mineiro: Adults EUR 2.50, Students EUR 2.
Centro Ciência Viva: Adults EUR 3.50, Students EUR 2.50.
Galeria Waldemar: Adults EUR 5.50, Students EUR 3.
[2020]
Classification: MineIron Mine pyrite, sulfuric acid
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension:
Guided tours: Museums: self guided.
Galeria Waldemar: D=90 min.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility:
Bibliography:
Address: Museu Mineiro do Lousal, Av. Frédéric Velge 006, 7570-006, Lousal, Tel: +351 269 750 520. 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

1934 power plant for mine
1992 power plat shut down.
1996 project to revive Lousal started by Fundação Frédéric Velge.
20-MAY-2001 Museu Mineiro do Lousal inaugurated.

Geology

At Lousal pyrite, a sulfur rich iron ore was mined. It was used for iron production, but also for sulfuric acid and fertilizers. The ore is found in Devonian and Lower Carboniferous schists. During the sedimentation of those siliceous schists, the pyrite deposits were formed by volcanism which caused hydrothermal alteration. The formation is comparable to todays black smokers, hot water emerging deep under water, the dissolved metal and sulfur becomes solid because of the cold sea water and creates a black cloud in the water. The result is the so-called Iberian Pyrite Belt, a region which contains numerous pyrite deposits and was intensively mined since Roman times.


Description

The Museu Mineiro do Lousal is actually a series of different exhibitions. They are located in abandoned mining buildings at the small mining town Lousal. The main museum is located inside the former power plant of the mine, which produced the required electricity between 1934 and 1992. Much of the engines and generators is still in working condition and part of the exhibition. The Museum also houses a significant collection of documents, objects and equipment of the daily life of the mine's prosperous years.

On the opposite side of the road is the new exhibition Centro Ciência Viva do Lousal. It contains hands on experiments for children, scientific exhibits about Portuguese geology, mining, biology and much more. There are flourescent minerals and extremophiles found in the mines. Geophysical methods for ore detection are explained, minerals are analyzed under a microscope.

The Galeria Mineira Waldemar is a restored underground tunnel of the mine which may be visited on guided tours. The tour starts once daily, if there are a minimum of five participants. Another interesting tour is the self guided percurso "Lousal a Céu Aberto", a 2.5 km long trail which shows geologic outcrops, the acidic lagoons lagoa verde (green lagoon) and lagoa vermelha (red lagoon). The water is treated in a series of 17 pools which use a phytoremediation system to remove the acid. At the end of the process the water is clean enough to be released into the river Ribeira de Corona. The walk is equipped with explanatory panels and shaded areas for rest. The round trip ist mostly level, allow 2 hours with enough time to read the signs and take pictures. Do not touch the water because it is acidic and may cause burns.

The museums at Losal are part of a project by the Fundação Frédéric Velge (Frédéric Velge Foundation) and the Associação Portuguesa de Arqueologia Industrial (APAI, Portuguese Association of Industrial Archeology). The Projeto de Revitalização e Desenvolvimento Integrado do Lousal (RELOUSAL, Lousal Revitalization and Integrated Development Project) created infrastructure for touristic income, and thus created jobs for the locals.