Sure, we’ve come across ore carts and trammers before while exploring at abandoned mines. However, finding an intact underground mine train parked with the ore carts still hooked up to the trammer (what miners call the electric locomotive) is something that I have never seen before or since. I’ll give away some of the secrets of the upcoming videos by saying that there is a second part to this train just a short distance farther down the track. I wonder if the operator of the trammer/locomotive felt a twinge of sadness when it was parked underground for the last time?
I mentioned in the description and comments of the last video that I would talk more about the history and geology of the abandoned mine in this description. The below is a translation from Italian to English and the translation is not perfect. However, it conveys the relevant information. So, quoting directly, here you go..
“The Buca della Vena Mine (formerly Stazzema Mine) was part of the 15th-16th century Vene Ferralis, although it is believed that works were held there already during the Medicean period.
Work restarted between 1850 and 1860, and in 1938 the Pignone of Florence company began excavating.
Since 1957, the SIMA company (subsidiary of EDEM) continued to work regularly in the tunnel searching mixed mineral barite-pyrite until 1990.
The field is described as a mineral body almost unique with barite, pyrite and iron oxides of good quality.
It is oriented NNE/SSW, in the contact zone between shale Unit Fornovolasco, white dolomite and grezzoni.
Considerable scientific interest was aroused by the discovery of rare or unique in the world mineralogical species.
Minerals mainly extracted are:
- barite used for chemicals, pharmaceuticals, petroleum industry and as nuclear power plants insulation
- pyrite for chemicals and iron and steel
- iron oxides for steel products”
Although the mine being explored in this video apparently dates back to the Medicean period, I passed ancient workings while pushing up the canyon walls that date back to the Romans and even the Etruscans. In other words, the iron ore deposits here have not exactly been a secret for thousands of years.
The section of the Buca della Vena Mine featured in this video hosted very dark rock and huge open chambers. So, even with multiple lights, it was a struggle to fully illuminate it. While there are certainly some even more impressive pillars and massive chambers to come, the rock is lighter and so that should not be much of an issue going forward.
All of these videos are uploaded in HD, so adjust those settings to ramp up the quality! It really does make a difference.
You can see the gear that I use for mine exploring here: https://bit.ly/2wqcBDD
You can click here for my full playlist of abandoned mines: https://goo.gl/TEKq9L
Thanks for watching!
Growing up in California’s “Gold Rush Country” made it easy to take all of the history around us for granted. However, abandoned mine sites have a lot working against them – nature, vandals, scrappers and various government agencies… The old prospectors and miners that used to roam our lonely mountains and toil away deep underground are disappearing quickly as well.
These losses finally caught our attention and we felt compelled to make an effort to document as many of the ghost towns and abandoned mines that we could before that colorful niche of our history is gone forever. But, you know what? We enjoy doing it! This is exploring history firsthand – bushwhacking down steep canyons and over rough mountains, figuring out the techniques the miners used and the equipment they worked with, seeing the innovations they came up with, discovering lost mines that no one has been in for a century, wandering through ghost towns where the only sound is the wind... These journeys allow a feeling of connection to a time when the world was a very different place. And I’d love to think that in some small way we are paying tribute to those hardy miners that worked these mines before we were even born.
So, yes, in short, we are adit addicts… I hope you’ll join us on these adventures!