Sardinia | Mining The Past In The South

This is where it all began. I mean, why I took a specialist interest in mining stuff. The mines of southern Sardinia: Monteponi, Masua, Iglesias, Ingurtosu & Piscinas.

 

From sulphur & salt mines to coal & minerals mines

I had visited mines before: the Kawah Ijen sulphur mine in Java (Indonesia), the  Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland and Pedra de Lume  salt mine on the island of Sal (Cape Verde).

Two of these three mines are still operational: Kawah Ijen and Pedra de Lume. Wieliczka is a major tourist attraction, but one definitely worth seeing. But I had never paid a visit to an – abandoned – coal or mineral mine. In Sardinia I was spoilt for choice.

Did I deliberately include all of these mines in my Sardinian must-sees? Not exactly, one thing led to another. The extensive mining site of Montevecchio was the culprit. He led me into the temptation of exploring more remnants of the industrial past that scarred the region. And my own country’s South.

 

My great-grandfather’s ghost

Since Sardinia, I keep more than an eye out for – derelict – mining sites. Mines have become purposeful destinations. Perfect for urban exploration, obviously, but there’s more to them than feeding my urbex fascination. More than meets the eye.

They remind me of my great-grandfather, probably one of the healthiest and long-lived miner around. He died at the age of 92 when I was a teenager.  In a way, exploring mining sites has become an attempt to dig for my roots. They lie on both sides of Belgium’s language boundary.  A classic story: one of the many Flemish man looking for better prospects (read: an income) ‘on the other side’. The dark side of the underground. A love story: Flemish man marries a Wallonian woman (my great-grandmother) and settles for good near Charleroi (Belgium). 

I’d very much ignored -suppressed – this ancestry. Until Sardinia. Industrial archaeology and mining became themes that I’ve developed in my photography ever since.

 

Monteponi Mine, Iglesias

Monteponi Mine, Iglesias

 

Monteponi Mine, Iglesias

Monteponi Mine, Iglesias

 

Monteponi Mine, Iglesias

Monteponi Mine, Iglesias

 

Monteponi Mine, Iglesias

Monteponi Mine, Iglesias

 

Monteponi, Iglesias

Monteponi, Iglesias

 

Mining town Iglesias

Mining town Iglesias

 

La Marmora Washery, Nebida

La Marmora Washery, Nebida

 

Masua Mine

Masua Mine

 

Masua Mine & the Sugarloaf (Pan di Zucchero)

Masua Mine & the Sugarloaf (Pan di Zucchero)

 

Sardinia - Mining the past-10

 

 

Sardinia - Mining the past-11

 

Sardinia - Mining the past-12

 

Sardinia - Mining the past-13

Ingurtosu Mine

Ingurtosu Mine

 

Ingurtosu Mine

Ingurtosu Mine

 

Naracauli: the wonderful washery of Lord Brassey (Ingurtosu Mine)

Lord Brassey Washery, Naracauli (Ingurtosu Mine)

 

Naracauli: the wonderful washery of Lord Brassey (Ingurtosu Mine)

Lord Brassey Washery, Naracauli (Ingurtosu Mine)

 

Ingurtosu Mine

Ingurtosu Mine

 

Ingurtosu Mine

Ingurtosu Mine

 

Naracauli: the wonderful washery of Lord Brassey (Ingurtosu Mine)

Lord Brassey Washery, Naracauli (Ingurtosu Mine)

 

Naracauli: the wonderful washery of Lord Brassey (Ingurtosu Mine)

Lord Brassey Washery, Naracauli (Ingurtosu Mine)

 

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Sardinia - Best-Off-15