History of mining and miners

Bagnore and Monte Labro Mines
In 1923 near the town of Bagnore were built ovens for roasting the mineral.

The work in the Bagnore mine was particularly difficult because of the frequent comings of warm waters, up to 50 ° rich in carbon and hydrogen gas.

Interview with miner Ottavio Bianchi Santa Fiora.
Started working underground in 1960. He explains as was the progress in the Bagnore mine.

The mine of cultivation problems due to the presence of carbon and hydrogen gases such as in the nearby mine Bagnore, they were overcome thanks to compressed air masks.

In the mine it will go from extraction wells or the shafts. The advancement of the galleries and the extraction takes place by means of picks, the picks tires and explosives.

Cinabrifero identified the field, it was following with deep "wells and tunnels" from which came off the "level galleries" that delimited height.

During the process of machining from cinnabar mercury, they had both losses of mercury vapors that of mercury in the liquid state, and they were the "blacks mud" of result.

The electricity for the ventilation systems and furnaces, came from Santa Fiora hydroelectric power plant, built in 1907 for the electrification of Mine Siele and Solforate.

Santa Barbara is the patron saint of miners, of those involved in the preparation and storage of explosives, the dealers and, more generally, anyone risk of dying from sudden and violent death.

On Mount Amiata, to Santa Barbara schools were closed, as anyone had a family member who worked in the mine and then you went to Mass and dined together to celebrate.

Santa Barbara is invoked against sudden death by fire, so the explosives and the places where they are stored are often called "powder magazine" in his honor. It is celebrated on December 4.

Occupations, strikes and demonstrations
Against mine closures, layoffs, work safety, the increase of wages.

In 1973 the serious crisis in the field of mercury leads initially the stop of the Siele ovens and Morone, with occupancy and demonstrations by miners and their families.

The intervened women protesting and picketing the square in front of the mine, taking care to light a fires for the cold and distributing food to the miners who occupied the gallery.

In 1932 the mining establishment of Siele dismiss for failure to sales of the product 146 workers.
Of the 2,243 miners employed in the mines of the 'Amiata up to 5 years before, there are only 367.

In the 70's with the dismantling of the Ovens of Pacic Bagnore mine it was clear to the miners and their families that layoffs, given the closure of the mine, would be definitive

In '58 two months of uninterrupted miners' protests and strikes that culminated with the sit-ins and the garrison for sixteen days, in the underground mining tunnels of the Siele mine.

Mining village of Siele with the building management, as well as functional industrial plants to the mining, processing and distillation of cinnabar, there were also the homes of engineers and managers, a small primary school, the chapel, the company store, an infirmary.1897

In 1870, under the control of Rosselli and Sara Levi Nathan the mine had rapid growth, thanks to the discovery of a field intact with a near 38% average content of mercury

The Siele is the first Italian mercury mine to go into business. In 1847 is established at Livorno the "Establishment mineralogical Modigliani" begins the mining industry of the Amiata mountain.

Because of the abolition of the collective piecework, with the consequence of halving the pay packet, the miners occupied the mine until its restoration

In 1958, The Siele and ARGUS Company, after 30 days of the sit-in strike, were defeated and forced to restore the reduced wages by 50% and paid all the sit-in strike days of the mines.

The ore was baked in ovens at high temperatures over 600 °. In this way they formed a vapor of mercury which when cooling it transforms into liquid metal.

Dominated by rocca aldobrandesca, already exploited in time etruscan and medieval period for the extraction of cinnabar, antimony and for the product of vetriolo

In 1908 in the Cortevecchia mine, in the municipality of Santa Fiora, they were found of antlers cut in the shape of paws and ax ofiliolitica rock.

Miners and other people
Mining activity not only gave work in the mines, but developed an economic impact even outside of it.

The mineral once out of the gallery, was distributed to drying or if sterile, that is, without mineral, spoil banks.

In the 50’s, the Fanfani law.
Given the high unemployment at the time, these sites represented, even if only for a few months a year, a source of livelihood for destitute families.

Officer to capstan mine winch maneuvers of the pit for the transport of personnel and of the extracted material.

During the fascism period, they called unemployed women and men for temporary jobs. Women were employed in reforestation at the fountain of the Nuns on Mount Amiata.

In 1935 it was possible to do fortnights, that is making systems for trees, dedicated to those who were unemployed. Other work by women: embroidery, vegetable garden, sheep farming, harvest and care of the house.

Miner who climbs the slant, armed with wooden stilts. The stairs could either be of wood or masonry, or in stone.

At 13 he left for the grubbing in Maremma
At 18 he went to work at the Baccinello mine. In 1958 digging discovers "bones" that were the skeletons of Oreopitechus bambolii.

In 1928 the crisis in the world market lead to an almost total assets block. At Abbadia San Salvatore the 1300 miners in 1932, drop down to 21. The start of the mining emigration to Maremma.

Used truck for unloading the mess along the ditch of Siele, the rosticci were the now barren cooked mineral was dumped along the river of Siele.

In arming of crops it was employed in the armor timber.
also it needed when a certain elasticity of the coating, as well as rapid assembly, is employed in a coating of shaped wood segments (troppoli).

The Bagnolo diatomaceous earth, Fontespilli area, is the fossil remnant of microscopic algae diatom family.

After finishing the shift or work outing. Teams, comprising of two men, went down the mine, the miner and the miner's helper or laborer, usually much younger.

Safety-officer at work. His task was to establish and maintain security of the gallery, by mounting the armor that supported the crumbling parts of the rock.

he sprint indicates the arrangement and the loading of explosive materials needed to break down a rock wall during construction of a tunnel.

Spain and Italy, countries with the richest deposits of cinnabar formed in 1936 the European Mercury Cartel to regulate exports and uniform metal prices on the world market. In 1945, a single bottle of mercury came to cost about $ 160.

Mercury was poured into cylinders of iron, or steel, of 2.7 liters of volume, closed by a screw cap, which contain 34.5 kg.

Injuries and deaths were caused by carbon dioxide, by landslides, explosions, collapses and protections of manufactured, such as safety at work in the 50's of 1900 were still lacking.

Credits: Story

We thank the Miners Association Museum through which exists and endures the Mining Museum of the Monte Amiata in Santa Fiora.

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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