Ouro Prêto, close to the Padre Faria chapel.
|Incandescent Electric Light System
|Minas Fonte Meu Bem Querer
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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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.
The mine Minas Fonte Meu Bem Querer was (probably) once owned by Felipe dos Santos. He was a famous member of the Inconfidência Mineira (Mine Conspiracy) of 1789 and is well known to any Brazilian.
When gold became less plentiful, the region had increasing difficulties to fulfill obligations to the crown. The captaincy of Minas Gerais was not able to pay its taxes, but as a punishment they got an additional tax on gold, called derrama. Conspirators learned about the independence of the 13 British colonies in North America, and so they were seeking their own independence from Portugal. They planned the rebellion for the day the derrama was instituted.
This movement attracted many famous people, for example the poets Cláudio Manuel da Costa and Tomás Antônio Gonzaga (*1744-✝1809), José Álvares Maciel, a philosopher and chemistry student, and Lieutenant Colonel Francisco de Paula Freire de Andrade (*1756-✝1792) of the regiment of the dragoons. But unfortunately the conspirators lacked both well-formed plans and an overall leader. Three participants revealed the conspiracy to the government and the rebels were arrested. Joaquim Silvério dos Reis (*1756-✝1792), one of the three, became known as the Brazilian traitor. Eleven conspirators were condemned to the gallows, seven more to perpetual banishment in Africa, the rest were acquitted. But Queen Maria I commuted the sentences of capital punishment to perpetual banishment for most of the eleven. Tiradentes took full responsibility for the conspiracy movement, was imprisoned in Rio de Janeiro, where he was executesd on 21-APR-1792, his body was torn into pieces which were sent to Ouro Prêto to be displayed.
The ore veins are still perfectly visible. Another sight are petrified trees, which are found in the same formation.
The mine was open to the public around 2007, one of only three show mines at that time. It is also listed on Wikipedia, but without a wikipedia page, and it seems to be closed now. It is not listed on the current list of show mines on the municipal website. We do not have an address, contact info, or location. We checked the location provided by wikipedia and other outdated webpages, but street view did not show any sign of the mine for 2011. So we guess it was already closed at that time. As we were not able to find any recent info on this mine we decided to mark it as closed.