Elba | Going underground in the Ginevro mine

The Island of a Thousand Fires

The origins of extracting and working iron on the island of Elba (“Blue mineral” for the Egyptians, “sideros” for the Greek) goes back to the mists of time. The ores in Elba areĀ among the oldest iron depositsĀ in the world. Infact since the dawning of history, the position of the island has always been strategic both because of the sea trade control and because of its inexhaustible mineral resources that have always attracted the great Mediterranean powers.

Under Etruscan rule, Elba was called “The Island of a thousand Fires” thanks to the pureness of its minerals, and it was in this period that the island’s development reached its peak, a peak that was to continue until the end of the 1st century BC.

 

Calamita Mineral Park

From 1950 onwards, theĀ economical boom and the arrival of tourism, competition, strikes and negotiations that failed cause the mines in Elba to close down, and in 1981 the one mine still open was closed down for good:Ā the Ginevro Mine.

Today, thanks to theĀ Island of Elba Mineral ParkĀ and theĀ Calamita Mineral Park, the true importance and worthy conservation both of the mineral sites and of the historical and cultural past of Elba are maintained in museums, study laboratories and along guided tours; only 30 years ago this very island was theĀ Island of Iron and Fire.

 

Elba | Going underground in the Ginevro mine-1

 

Elba | Going underground in the Ginevro mine-2

 

Elba | Going underground in the Ginevro mine-3

Lunch break

 

Elba | Going underground in the Ginevro mine-4

Mineral deposits

 

Elba | Going underground in the Ginevro mine-5

 

Elba | Going underground in the Ginevro mine-6

Collapsed roof turns into a light shaft

 

Elba | Going underground in the Ginevro mine-7

 

Elba | Going underground in the Ginevro mine-8

 

Elba | Going underground in the Ginevro mine-9

Rio Marina mine

 

Elba | Going underground in the Ginevro mine-10

Old pier for transporting iron at the port of Rio Marina

 

Elba | Going underground in the Ginevro mine-11

 

Elba | Going underground in the Ginevro mine-12

 

More info

www.miniereisoladelba.it – Visit Calamita | Ginevro mine (only in Italian)

www.infoelba.com/island-of-elba/territory-history/geology-of-elba – Geology of Elba

www.infoelba.com/island-of-elba/territory-history/history-of-elba/mines – Mines on Elba

www.infoelba.com/island-of-elba/territory-history/history-of-elba/mines/rio-marina-iron-capital – Rio Marina, Elba’s the iron capital

Ā The Elba Island: an intriguing geological puzzle in theĀ Northern Tyrrhenian Sea (pdf)