Mines and quarries

Mines and quarries

From the 17th to the mid-20th century, iron and copper mines were intermittently worked in Champorcher and especially in the Champdepraz valley. The highest is the magnetite mine at Lac Gelé (2600m altitude), in production in the 17th and 18th centuries; the extracted ore was transported to the Serva furnace (1550m, trail 5b) along a paved sliding track which can still partially be used today (trail 6). The ruin of a second furnace is present along trail 4 at Pont de Perrot. In Champdepraz at Barma de Rova there is also an ancient quarry of millstones (1900m, trail 6b).

From the 17th to the mid-20th century, iron and copper mines were intermittently worked in Champorcher and especially in the Champdepraz valley. The highest is the magnetite mine at Lac Gelé (2600m altitude), in production in the 17th and 18th centuries; the extracted ore was transported to the Serva furnace (1550m, trail 5b) along a paved sliding track which can still partially be used today (trail 6). The ruin of a second furnace is present along trail 4 at Pont de Perrot. In Champdepraz at Barma de Rova there is also an ancient quarry of millstones (1900m, trail 6b).

Three mining sites of Champdepraz are a focus of the “Giroparchi” project:

- the Lac Gelé mine is clearly visible along trail 6 of Champdepraz (entrances to the tunnels and spoil tips of the mining waste), long stretches of which were made usable by sleds to transport the mineral to the valley;

- the Servaz blast furnace, in a state of ruin, still retains construction details that help understand how it operated;

- the Barma de Rova millstone quarry is located near to two exploratory tunnels presumably excavated in the 19th century into garnet-prasinite on the lower slopes of Mont Avic; some outlines of millstones are clearly visible on the rock wall.

Also in Champdepraz, outside the protected area, the remains of the Hérin copper mine are clearly visible (itinerary no. 8): in addition to the buildings, the now unusable entrances and the large spoil tip, there are still some pylons of the cableway that connected the mining point (1700m) to the Fabbrica mineral processing plant (380m), currently converted into a commercial building.

The need for large quantities of fuel for smelting metals has severely depleted the forest in the valley, which underwent extensive repeated cutting for the production of charcoal over the past centuries; the clearings for the woodpiles where charcoal was made, scattered in all the woods, are clearly visible along trails 3, 5c and 7a.

Miniera Herin
Pini uncinati prostrati
Miniera