R Treze De Maio, 67, Alto Da Cruz, Ouro Preto MG 35400-000.
All year daily 9-17.
Adults BRL 30, Student BRL 15.
|Light:||Incandescent Electric Light System|
|Guided tours:||D=30 min, L=360 m.|
|Address:||Mina 13 de Maio, Rua Treze De Maio, 67, Alto Da Cruz, Ouro Preto MG 35400-000, Tel: +55-31-3552-1685.|
|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.
|18th century||mine opened.|
Ouro Prêto sits right on an outcrop of banded iron formation. This formation is a sedimentary rock with many layers of iron ore, often altered to iron oxide especially ochre. There are also copper deposits, which sometimes are transformed to malachite. The dark rocks were the reason for its name Ouro Prêto which means black gold as a reference to the dark colour of the local gold, which contains a lot of iron oxides. However, the gold is mostly bound to gold bearing quartz veins, not to the iron.
Mina 13 de Maio (May 13th Mine), also Mina Treze de Maio, is named after the road where it is located. The mine entrance offers a spectacular view of the Church of Santa Efigênia, Pico do Itacolomi and the Historic Center. The entrance building is also quite exceptional, as it was built with pedra canga (canga stone), a brick which was made from iron rich clay which was formed by the weathering of the banded iron formation. It is called Casa da Mineração, and has a small beer bar and a shop, which sells local handicraft and sculptures created by local artists. A small exhibition shows mining tools and other iron artifacts. There are samples of ochre, an iron ore which is created by the oxidation of banded iron and is both iron ore and a brown pigment used for colours in the shades brown, yellow, or red.
The mine was dug entirely by slaves, which is quite common for that time. It is also said to be the oldest mine in the city, dug in the 18th century. So it is not surprising that the passage is rather small and low, most visitors have to duck during the tour. Most explanations are therefore given before the tour in the museum.