Balatoc Mines Tour

Balatoc Mines Underground Tour


Useful Information

Location: Balatoc, Virac, Itogon, Benguet.
From Baguio follow the road to the Philippine Military Academy (PMA). At fork about 300m behind PMA gate turn right, 9km beyond PMA.
Open:  
Fee: Adults PHP 250, Student PHP 150. Groups (+): Adults EUR , Children (3-18) EUR . [2006]
Classification:  Gold mine.
Light: electric.
Dimension:  
Guided tours: D=2h.
Photography:  
Accessibility:  
Bibliography:  
Address: Benguet Corporation - Corporate Headquarters, 3/F Universal Re Bldg., 106 Paseo de Roxas, Legaspi Village 1226, Makati City, Metro-Manila, Tel: 632-812-1380, Fax: 632-752-0717.
Tourism Operations Section Capitol, La Trinidad, Benguet, Tel: +63-74-422-1116.
Last update:$Date: 2013/04/25 23:03:40 $

History

 
1903Benguet Consolidated Mining Company established.
1908Antamok Mines opened.
1980sshow mine opened to the public.
1992underground mining and milling operations shut down.
1998won the Promotion of the Year award from the Dept. of Tourism.

Geology


Description

The Balatoc Mines Tour is the first show mine on the Philippines and thus said to be one of the most unique attractions. The mine was operated by the Benguet Corporation for eight decades. Now it is closed except for some minor activities by some locals who still mine in a most primitive way. The mine site once had nine main levels and nine sublevels. The entrance of the mine is at 600m asl, the lowest level is at -425m, 1,025m below the entrance. Access to the lower levels was provided by a mine-shaft.

The mine visit is planned to resemble the daily life of the miners, so it starts with the reception of round-metal-sheet called chapa. They serve as an ID to the miners, every one has one and takes it into a box when entering the mine. When coming back the miner collects his chapa again. Every day after the shift, the foreman checks the box and issues a search if chapas remain in the box. In case of an accident it is possible to count the plates and determine how many are still in the mine.

Mine visitors are equipped with Wellingtons and a hard hat, and then enter the mine on a mine train. Inside ex-miners show the visitors how tunnels are dug and reinforced, and there is a simulated explosion. The tour also explains the mucking and the transport of gold bearing ore to the surface. Finally there is the old furnace where the ore is melted and poured out into molds.

Beneath the underground tour there is a fine museum about local gold mining and mining techniques. There are facsimile of gold bars called bullions and company memorabilia. The mineral collection shows specimens of various ores, some so high grade you can see beads of gold lining the white limestone rock.


See also


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