Minas de Passagem

Passagem Gold Mine - Mina de Ouro de Passagem

Useful Information

Location: On the road between Ouro Prêto (Black Gold) and Mariana. 4 km from Ouro Prêto. (20°23'28.29"S, 43°26'25.02"W)
Open: All year Mon-Tue 9-17, Wed-Sun 9-17:30. [2007]
Classification: MineGold Mine
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=30,000 m, T=17-20 °C.
Guided tours: L=315 m, VR=120 m.
Address: OPM Empreendimentos Ltda., Passagem de Mariana, Mariana - MG, CEP: 35.420-000, Tel: +55-31-3557-5000, Tel: +55-31-3557-5001.
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.


1719 mine opened, funded the Portuguese monarchy.
1985 mine closed.


Passagem Gold Mine is the oldest gold mine in Brazil. It also is said to be the biggest show mine on Earth, obviously a marketing lie. But having 30 km of tunnels, it is probably the biggest show mine of Brazil.

The mine is entered on a rather adventurous funicular, which lowers the visitors 120 meters down into the mine. Fortunately, the visitor does only a very small part of the 30 km on his tour.

The mine produced a totoal of 35 tons of gold during more than 250 years of operation. For a long time the mining was made with a work force of thousands of slaves. They had to stay in the mine for weeks and months.

Imagine a steeper version of the Scenic Railway in Raiders of the Lost Ark, plunging into the darkness, antique winding gear, brake, what brake? This is how you enter the Passagem Gold Mine.

Once below you explore one level and visit the edge of the flooded levels now used by cave divers. In case you are concerned there is a well-tended shrine to Saint Barbara to protect you. This mine has great atmosphere, amazing old equipment and a well-stocked rock shop and display. Highly recommended.

Text by Tony Oldham (2002). With kind permission.