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The Mount Magnet Mine.

The Mount Magnet Mine.

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The Mount Magnet Mine.

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Page By: chaberton

Created/Edited: Oct 15, 2013 / Oct 15, 2013

Object ID: 288705

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Table of Contents



Island Mines
Elba Mines

The mine of Mount Magnet has a long history, from the time of the Etruscans until 1980, the year of closure activities, has always been the main resource of the country and led to the island in the middle of the Mediterranean routes.

The list of peoples and of the lords who dominated the island, attracted by its resources, it is long and very useful to better understand the marked differences architectural and cultural factors that are exceptionally in such a small territory.

Etruscans, Greeks, Romans, Pisans and the Genoese, Cosimo de 'Medici and the Appiani Piombino and finally Napoleon took advantage of the iron mines, increasing the production and strengthening the country, too often the object of the Saracen invasions.

The mine has so marked the history of the oldest and newest of Elba Island, the traditions of its inhabitants, the shape of its walls, the profile of its coasts.

A deep bond.


Etruscans & Romans

The first news about the mining of Elba back to an anonymous account of the second century after Christ, according to which: first of the iron was dug copper, with which their make all their stuff, then the copper ran out, but spent a lot of time, appeared from the same quarry the iron, which still serve the Etruscans who live in Populonia.

Elba was known at the time of the Etruscans as " Ilva ", which meant: Iron.
their control of this mineral was the cause of the war with the Romans in 250 BC, which marked the end of the Etruscan world.
Rome drew from the mineral resources of the island plenty of weapons needed for the achievements in the world.


Gone are the dark ages, after the year one thousand, mining began again.
The maritime republic of Pisa extended its dominion over the mines of Elba which drew huge incomes.

Since the eleventh century Pisans blacksmiths went to Elba working from late autumn until the month of May, when they returned because of malaria.
They mined in open quarries, with the picks hitting the sides of the mountain and dropping boulders downstream where the crushers reduced them into small pieces to be transported with carts or donkeys for you to get boarded.

They were still using the oven at low heat powering the bellows (menafollus) with human strength.
Between 1200 and 1300 wars between maritime republics imposed more intense exploitation of the mines, so were created the "Maone" companies that exploited a large number of

workers, often underpaid, and getting sicker.
With the plague of 1348, the whole European economy retreated, including the mining industry Elba, whose recovery will be linked to the noble families of Visconti and Appian.

Cosimo De Medici

Between 1400 and 1500, the birth of the steel industry in Tuscany.
During the Appians the extraction continued through the granting to different companies, in a discontinuous manner, without claiming to launch a modern system.
In the mid 1500s James gave the Appian iron production to Cosimo I de Medici, intending to stimulate it to become autonomous from abroad.
The Duke founded the "Magona" in Florence, to buy, merge and work the iron from Elba, giving a big boost to the birth of the steel industry in Tuscany.
The ore of Elba remained an important component to the Tuscan economy, but from then on, his work took place only on the continent more.

The nineteenth century and Napoleon.

Throughout the seventeenth century the mine remained under Spanish rule , was later passed on to the Grand Dukes of Tuscany without his increased production.

Starting from 1814 Napoleon tried to create a steel industry , but the lack of water and timber did not allow him to build blast furnaces on the island .

The work processes were still based on mine , clubs , hoes and poles as a lever , the ore was reduced in size and lighter to breakers pickmen and brought to the beach by donkeys or in heavy baskets to four handles calls " coffee" , where transportation was entrusted to small boats.

The management of the mines greatly improved after the mid- nineteenth century thanks to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany before, and then to the State , with the introduction ofpiers, chutes, and small railways .

narrow-gauge railway
Small Railways

Everything sped processing and increased production and export .
The final push was given by the construction of the blast furnace of Portoferraio in 1909 and the huge demand for iron during the First World War.

Portoferraio Furnace
Portoferraio Furnace

The twentieth century.

After the First World War, the processing back in full swing and in 1928 they began to remove the magnetite from the open pit mine Ginevro.

Metal Processing continued at full pace until 1943 , when German bombers destroyed the blast furnaces of Portoferraio ( terrorist bombings on factories and houses to force the Italian garrison to surrender ).

The end of World War II led to a crisis, the plant closed , the company " Ferromin " moved the production in Liguria, the high rate of unemployment forced many to emigrate from Elba.

From the fifties the excavation continued with ever more modern methods , so much so that in 1969 the castle came into operation extraction Ginevro , increasing working underground.

Iron Maschinery
Mechanized Systems

The years of the industrial boom in Italy have also seen a great return to work the mines of Elba , with the introduction of mechanized systems more and more advanced .
The production costs are too high , however, led to the final closure in 1980.

Open Air Mine
Open Air Mine

The Mine Today.

The mines of Capoliveri, closed in 1981, are open to the public.
Were performed large restoration work on trails and paths mining.
It is a veritable open-air museum added to the National Park of the Tuscan Archipelago.
It is a protected site by UNESCO where you can discover the fascinating ancient history of the Iron, as well as the flora and fauna of one of the wildest headlands of the island.

Witness of an ancient time.
Mine Museum


Iron MachineryPortoferraio Furnacenarrow-gauge railwayIsland MinesIron MaschineryWitness of an ancient time.The Mine as it was!
Open Air Mine


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