Miniera d'Oro di Sessa

Miniera d'oro, turismo e cultura


Useful Information

Location: The road from Novaggio to Molinazzo di Monteggio is narrow and winding. It crosses two ridges of the pre-Alps, and near Sessa the mine is located. From Ponte Tresa follow Strada Cantonale to Molinazzo di Monteggio, turn right, through Sessa to hamlet La Costa di Sessa. Signposted.
Open: 15-MAR to Sat, Sun 10-14.
[2020]
Fee: Adults SFR 15, Children (6-12) SFR 8, Children (3-5) free, Children (0-2 not allowed.
Families: Adults SFR 12, Children (6-12) SFR 6.
Groups (10+): descounts after appointment.
[2020]
Classification: MineGold Mine
Light: electric.
Dimension: l=2,000m, 5 levels, T=11-12°C, H=100%.
Guided tours: L=382m, D=75min.
Photography:
Accessibility:
Bibliography:
Address: Miniera d'Oro di Sessa, Via Miniera, La Costa di Sessa, 6997 Sessa, Tel: +41-79127-2080. E-mail:
Associazione Miniera d’Oro, c/o Fond. Malcantone, CP 81, 6987 Caslano, Tel: +41-91608-1125.
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

1785 first written mention of gold mining.
1933 mine operated by Mines de Costano SA, mine and ore processing modernized.
1939 mine closed due to World War II.
1945 mine reopened after war.
1952 mine closed.
2015 begin of reopening works.
2017 mine reopened as a show mine.

Geology


Description

The Miniera d'Oro di Sessa (Gold Mine of Sessa) is a show mine located in the Leonilde gallery of the abandoned Sessa gold mine. It is the only gold mine open to the public in Switzerland.

Mount Sceré and other mountains in the area are rich in minerals. The ores are mostly found in veins and include gold, silver, iron and lead. The first documented mining of gold dates back to 1785. But archaeologic remains tell about gold mining since Roman times. There were two phases of mineral exploitation, during the 19th century directed by the engineer Vinasco Baglioni, and in the 20th century when Mines de Costano SA introduced new techniques. In the first phase the processing of the ore happened in Molinazzo di Monteggio, a place called faundry until today. The mining was mostly by hand and quite labour intensive. This changed when the mine was taken over by Mines de Costano SA in 1933. They modernized the whole process, expanded the historic tunnels and built new plants for ore treatment in the Lolina area. But the final treatment of the ore was not possible here, so the partly processed ore was sent to Belgium. This became impossible with the begin of World War II and mining immediately was suspended. The mine was reopened after the war, but after only a few years it was closed because it was unprofitable.

The mine was transformed into a show mine not only to draw tourists, a main goal was to protect and preserve an important part of the history and culture of Malcantone. The compressor room was converted into the reception area for the visitors. On the upper floor is a small thematic exhibition which was created in collaboration with the Museo della Miniera di Sessa. There are gold panning activities for children on site, a leisure area, didactic panels for the remaining mine buildings, and a great view overlooking the Tresa valley.

When visiting the gold mine you should definitely also visit the Museo della Miniera di Sessa (Museum of the Sessa Goldmine) in the town Sessa. It gives a detailed overview of the gold mining activities in the area during the last 2000 years. It explains the different mining techniques used in the mine and