Iron Miners
It is currently Wed Dec 13, 2017 10:22 pm

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 15 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Italian Marble Mining Operations
PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2007 7:13 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jul 08, 2005 12:41 pm
Posts: 2927
Location: Hard coal region, PA
On my last trip to Europe in June - July of 2007, I had a chance to view some Italian barble mining operations in the area of Carrara, Italy. The mountain sides are riddled with enormous quarries and deep mines that have been active since Roman times. These mountains in the Apuan Alps are almost completely marble, as you can see in the pictures. It's quite the place for a mining enthusiest... Marble mining is completely different from any type of mining I had seen before. You can see how they cut the marble out in massive blocks from the mountain. Theres really no "following the vein." Its just cutting the mountain away and taking everything!

Just thought I'd finally throw the pictures on here for everyone..

_________________
This ain't longwall... this is long hole!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2007 7:57 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2005 2:34 pm
Posts: 6906
Location: Within 60 Miles of the Northern Anthracite Field
nice pics banks, with all that equipment it looks like its operated like a bituminous mine :wink: . i like the tunnel that is drove through the entire thing, so they pulled the marble out with a steam lokie? is that where the one on the bridge is coming from? cool stuff.

_________________
Come over to the Dark Side....... We have Cookies!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2007 8:05 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jul 08, 2005 12:41 pm
Posts: 2927
Location: Hard coal region, PA
Naw those bridges were further down the mountain. However, they are coming out of / going into tunnels on the ends. I believe the mine was actually started after the lokie line was abandoned... so i don't think it ever pulled any marble out of that particular operation.

_________________
This ain't longwall... this is long hole!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2007 8:47 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2006 10:08 pm
Posts: 632
Location: Poconos/Lehigh Valley
Thank you for posting the photos. Did anything indicate where the wire saws were built or how old they were? They look a lot like the type used at the slate quarry.

Do you know the track gauge?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2007 9:04 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jul 08, 2005 12:41 pm
Posts: 2927
Location: Hard coal region, PA
Hey Mike,

I don't know about the wire saws, but I imagine theyre probably rather new. That mine is an acitve marble mine today and they give tours on the weekends... It appreared to be pretty new equipent for the most part.

The track gauge is also a mystery becasue there were no remnants of the track anywhere... It was probably narrow gauge because a lot of european lines are anyway.

It was kindof tough to ask questions because the guides were italian girls who spoke about enough english to manage the tour....

_________________
This ain't longwall... this is long hole!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2007 9:16 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2006 10:08 pm
Posts: 632
Location: Poconos/Lehigh Valley
Thank you for the reply. I was wondering about the track gauge because the slate quarry used an unusual 33.5 inch (850 mm) gauge track. The only other known users were in Sweden and Italy (Porlezza Menaggio, Ponte Tresa, and Luino). I wonder if the track gauge came to Pennsylvania with Italian immigrants or if there was another reason for it.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2007 9:52 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jul 08, 2005 12:41 pm
Posts: 2927
Location: Hard coal region, PA
Thats really interesting... I wouldn't be surprised if it did... Now you really have me wondering Mike! Were there any prominent Italian people linked to the slate quarry who's names could be traced to town names? Or even just by the meaning of their name. Its funny because theres a girl from high school i know whose last name is Dellacave, or, formerly, Della Cave. Guess what I found that means in Italian? "Of the Mine!" (Cave is Mine in Italian)

_________________
This ain't longwall... this is long hole!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2007 10:51 am 
Offline
Site Admin

Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2005 11:33 pm
Posts: 3088
Location: Above the Sterling Hill Mine
Very nice shots Banks! I always found the Marble Mines intriguing as it almost looks like a coal mine once mined as everything is so flat due to the blocks cut out of the mine. The old pictures of the lokie going across the bridges is pretty neat too.

How deep did these operations go? Even in the modern operation where there is a 'swimming pool', you can see what looks like water filled workings. You can see that from the outside as well. I assume all of the water filled workings are the older workings. Perhaps this area could have been remined by modern operations..

Miner Greg


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2007 1:39 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jul 08, 2005 12:41 pm
Posts: 2927
Location: Hard coal region, PA
hey Greg,

Actually most of those pools of water aren't very deep. They can be deceiving... just kind of the lowest point where all the water collected.

All of the mining is done either surface or drift. I'm having a hard time remembering how deep we were, but we pretty much had a humongous mountain of marble on top of us. I wanna say we were a good 1200 to 1600 feet underground but I'm having a hard time remembering.

_________________
This ain't longwall... this is long hole!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2007 4:59 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2005 11:28 pm
Posts: 1764
Location: Winnemucca, NV
Banks, you were definitely holding out on us with these pictures! It really makes me want to book some tickets to Italy this summer. Being excavated into marble, it sure is remarkably more stable than some of the anthracite mines.

Do you know if there were older entrances or workings still extant?

_________________
"If you thought old, abandoned mines were only in the west, then you haven't been to IronMiners.com!"


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2007 12:30 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jul 08, 2005 12:41 pm
Posts: 2927
Location: Hard coal region, PA
I'm no marble expert, but I actually think the deep mining of the marble is more common now than it ever was. Most of it was surface. If you can imagine trying to deep mine those huge blocks without modern equipment like wire saws it would have been incredibly hard. Driving through conglomerate rock is one thing because you're after the ore.. cutting blocks out of marble is a lot harder becasue if you could imagine everything is good marble! In order to the the most usable material out of the mountain, you have to be able to cut it from many angles. Near impossible I would say before cutters and wire saws! Its just a lot easier to get at it from the surface. Deep mining marble in Italy, you might find a little different marble within the mountain, but I think the true advantage is the nice underground working temps! Italy is hot man! Also, I think most of the mines have never shut down. Theres never really been a decline in demand for good marble, so I'd imagine most of them have stayed open for centuries.

To sum it up, i kind of doubt theres too much to really explore in terms of deep mines around the area. I'm sure theres some open cuts throughout the mountains, and I bet if you searched long enough and looked hard enough you might be able to find some artifacts (possibly ancient) from the mining that was done in that area.

_________________
This ain't longwall... this is long hole!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2007 10:22 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon May 08, 2006 2:16 pm
Posts: 1501
Location: Central Ohio
Thats what I am talking about mix it up with something different. NICE BANKS Marble mines are awesome. . . . now that is a cool trip & would have loved to be there. NICE PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHS TOO.

_________________
Pioneering the next INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION (Preservation ! ). . . Saving equipment (1) mine site at a time.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2007 3:05 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jul 08, 2005 12:41 pm
Posts: 2927
Location: Hard coal region, PA
:D Thanks Pete

_________________
This ain't longwall... this is long hole!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 12:00 pm 
Offline
Site Admin

Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2005 11:33 pm
Posts: 3088
Location: Above the Sterling Hill Mine
Banks,

Yes I guess you do have a very good point in terms of the equiptment available back in the old times in order to remove the marble. With ore and coal deep mining, you generally bring to the surface somewhat broken up ore and coal. However when it comes to marble, you want big blocks or large piece. Bringing that up on small chunks provides no value, so without modern equiptment, it is probably difficult to bring to the surface large pieces unless you are near the surface from the start. Although tunneling through a mountain is obviously a different story.

Do you have any idea on how many marble operations there are throughout France?

Miner Greg


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 12:51 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jul 08, 2005 12:41 pm
Posts: 2927
Location: Hard coal region, PA
that I have Nooooooo idea...

_________________
This ain't longwall... this is long hole!


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 15 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group