Rudnik svinca in cinka Mežica

Useful Information

Location: Mežica, Ravne na Koroškem.
Open: Summer Tue-Sun at 9, 13, 17.
Classification: Lead and zinc mine.
Light: No,
Dimension: L=800,000m, VR=1,700m, A=268-2,060m asl
Guided tours: L=8,000m, includes two times 3,500m train ride, D=120min.
Bibliography: P. Bancroft, M. Zrz, F. Krivograd, G. Kobler (1991): The Mezica Mine, Slovenia, Yugoslavia, Min.Record:22,2,97-104
A. Brunlechner (1888): Die Sphärenerze von Mieß in Kärnten, Jhb. d. k.k. Geol. Reichsanstalt Wien:38, 311
D. Velebil (2005): Mezica ve Slovinsku - svetoznámé naleziste wulfenitu, Mineral (Brno):2, 105-112
Address: Rudnik svinca in cinka Mežica, 2392 Mežica, Tel: +0386-602-35310 or +0386-602-35110. E-mail: contact
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.


1665 first described.
1987 ore runs out, mine closed.



At Mežica, between the mountains Peca and Uršlja gora in the Karavanke mountain chain, rich ores were mined for centuries. Since 1665 about 800 kilometers of adits were dug, between 265m asl and 2,000m asl, producing some 19 million tons of ore. This equals 1 million tons of lead and 500,000 tons of zinc. The peak of the mining activities was after World War II. At this time more than 2,000 people worked at the Mežica mine.

The mine was an important mine of the Austro Hungarian Empire. At this time the town was called Mieß (Mies, Miess), Crna was called Schwarzenbach, Peca was Petzen, and the village belonged to Kärnten (Carinthia). This terms are still important to mineral collectors, as many minerals from those times are still labeled with the old names. But the mining started much earlier. The Roman historian Publius Cornelius Tacitus reported about iron mining in the valley during the 1st century.

The mine was an important factor of the valley and created wealth. But it also had several drawbacks, like the pollution created by the mill and the smelter. The result of this dust was lead in teh raining water, and the valley was called Tal des Todes (Death Valley). This became worse during the 20th century, and ended with the independence of Slowenia.

Today the mine is closed and visitors can see a small part of the famous mine. The tour starts with a 3.5km train ride into Mount Peca. The visitors get yellow rain coats and helmets with headlamps. Comfortable clothes and appropriate shoes are advisable, wellingtons are usefull. You should arrive 10 to 15 minutes in advance to have enough time for changing clothes and prepare for the tour.

The mine is famous for its wulfenite (PbMoO4) mineral deposits. Wulfenite is a secondary mineral in the weathering horizon above ore deposits containing lead and molybdenum, formed by oxidation. The lead usually comes from galena and the molybdenum from surrounding volcanic rocks. Wulfenite was mined for some time as molybdenum ore. It was found in up to 4cm big crystals in um to 50cm big lumps. Other important minerals found at the mine are anglesite, cerussite, gypsum, hydrozincite, and hemimorphite.

The mine has now started to offer underground bike tours. The bikers are equipped with helmets and headlamps and accompanied by two guides. 800m below the surface lies a prepared passage with a length of 7km, 300 turnoffs were closed to avoid bikers getting lost in the dark mine.