Miniera Torgola – Collio, Italy - Atlas Obscura

Miniera Torgola is a behemoth of a mine located in a small valley called Val Trompia, under the jurisdiction of Collio village. Historically, Val Trompia was also known as “La Via del Ferro” (“the Iron Route”) due to the large amount of iron ore in the area. In this narrow valley, Miniera Torgola presents itself unexpectedly, as one turns a sharp bend along the main road, with steep mountains slopes on all sides.

Documents attest that silver was mined on this location as far back as the 15th century, but few traces of it were found in more recent times. As a result, iron remained the main export of the area until the mid-19th century, when most mines in Val Trompia closed because the antiquated technology they used placed them at a disadvantage and they could not keep up with competition from elsewhere.

It was around this time that the Martelli company decided to switch from mining iron to mining fluorite, which led to the opening of Miniera Torgola and its first fluorite mine at the beginning of the 1900s. The high demand for fluorite ensured the success of the enterprise. So much so, that a vast expansion of the structure was implemented in the 1950s. The mine’s production peaked in the 1960s and steadily declined afterward until it closed permanently in 1999.  The structure has been in a state of disrepair since then.

To date, the outside structure is still standing, but the inside is extremely dangerous due to the metal floors corroding and collapsing.  Following the Mella river upstream, there is one of the carriage tunnels, which is closed by gates, but the conveyer belt coming from the mine is still in place. A sorting and crushing plant completes the existing structures.

Given the predominance of mining in Val Trompia, there’s no shortage of decommissioned mines. Many were turned into museums or theme parks, with renovations and up-to-date safety measures. Miniera Torgola, on the other hand, is slowly and (in some people’s eyes) beautifully turning into dust.

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September 9, 2021

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