Pôle Historique Minier


Useful Information

Location: At Gréasque, follow signs to Puits Hély d'Oissel.
Open: 23-JAN to 20-DEC Wed-Sun, Hol 9-12, 14-18.
Tours at 10, 14:30, 16:30.
[2010]
Fee: Adults EUR 5, Children (6-12) EUR 3, Children (0-5) free, Students EUR 4, Seniors (65+) EUR 4, Unemployed EUR 4.
Groups (20+): Adults EUR 4, Children (6-12) EUR 2.50.
[2010]
Classification: ExplainCoal Mine
Light: electric.
Dimension:  
Guided tours: D=75min.
Photography:  
Accessibility:  
Bibliography:  
Address: Pôle Historique Minier, Puits Hély d'Oissel, 13850 Gréasque, Tel: 0442-697700, Fax: 0442-697848.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

1443 first written mention of coal mining in the area.
1919 start of mining at the Puits Hély d'Oissel.
1950 heydays of the mine.
1955 decline of mining.
1960 mine closed.
2000 opened to the public.

Geology


Description

The Pôle Historique Minier (Pôle Historic Mines) is located on the site of the former mine Puits Hély d'Oissel. The Puits Hély d'Oissel is one of 51 shafts which were drilled during the 18th and 20th century.

The mining started during the middle ages, but on a very low scale. It was intensified during the 17th and 18th century under the influence of magnate landowners. When the mines were nationalized in 1946 there were nine working mines, at Gréasque, Cadolive, Peypin, St. Savournin, Mimet, Gardanne and Meyreuil. Those mines, located in a geological structure called anticlinale or basin which contained the coal seams, are the topic of this museum.

In 1948 the total number of miners was 6505, which equaled about 20% of the population. Annual production was 970,000 tons, which was the third place nationwide. In 1986 there were only 894 miners left. And in 2003 the last mine, Yvon Morandat at Gardanne, is closed and mining ends. So in less than 60 years the coal mining lost its importance from being the main employer to vanishing.