Rudnik svinca in cinka Mežica


Useful Information

Location: Mežica, Ravne na Koroškem. The ticket office, mine entrance, and museum is located at the southern end of the town, on the main road from Mežica to Črna na Koroškem.
Open: Museum: Winter Tue-Sat 8-15. Summer Tue-Sun 8-17
Mine Tour: Winter Tue-Sat 11. Summer Tue-Sun at 9, 13, 17.
Special tours only with reservation.
[2019]
Fee: Adults EUR 12, Children (6-16) EUR 9, Students EUR 9.
Groups (20+): 5% discount.
Bike tours: Per Person EUR 30.
Black Hole Trail: Per Person EUR 50.
Kayak tours: Per Person EUR 42.
[2019]
Classification: Lead and zinc mine.
Light: headlamps provided
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.
Bike tours: l=7,000m, D=2.5h.
Black Hole Trail: VR=150m.
Kayak tours: D=4h.
Photography:  
Accessibility:  
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, Podzemlje Pece, Glančnik 8, SI 2392 Mežica, Tel: +386-2-8700-180, Fax: +386-2-8700-165. E-mail:
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

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

Geology


Description

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 also an important factor for the people 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 poisonous lead in the rainwater, and the valley was called Tal des Todes (Death Valley). This became worse during the 20th century, and ended with the independence of Slowenia. At least thats how they tell the story, but other sources say the mine deposit was depleted and the mine was closed in 1987, so it was just a coincidence.

Today the mine is closed for mining and visitors can see a small part of the famous mine. The tour starts with a 3.5km mine train ride through Glančnik tunnel into Mount Peca, which takes about 15 minutes. At the end the circular tour by foot starts, which is about 1 kilometer long. It shows the used mining techniques, the machinery, the daily work of the miners, and explains the geology of the mine. It ends at the railway station and the tour returns to the surface with a second train ride.

The visitors are equipped with 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 is offering special tours, underground bike tours and underground kayak 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. On this tour you cross the mountain from one valley to the next. A second bike tour is called Black Hole Trail and is a challenge for experienced mountain bikers. The trail is rated black for advanced to expert riders and is not appropriate for beginner or intermediate level bikers. It is mainly downhill and ends five mine levels and 150m below the start. The Kayak Tour takes place in the lowest part of the mine. After the water pumps were stopped in 1994 the lowest levels filled with groundwater, and the lowest adit - where the water flows out without pumping - keeps it at a stable level. Participants are equipped with neoprene boots, life jackets, and mining helmets with a headlamp. They descent a shaft with stairs until they reach the water table and then enter kayaks. Most of the tour is paddling on pristine water, through narrow passages and wide chambers, but there are also tunnels where the water flows with more force and even forms rapids. Back at the train station a walk of the exhibition part follows and finally a real miner’s lunch.