Quinta das Minas da Recheira

Mina do Alemão


Useful Information

Location: Barco.
(40.166468, -7.624396)
Open: MAR to SEP daily 9-19.
OCT to FEB daily 10-18.
[2021]
Fee: Adults EUR 30, Children (0-3) free, Senior (65+) EUR 27.
[2021]
Classification: MineTin Mine MineTungsten Mine
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System LightColoured Light
Dimension:
Guided tours: D=2 h. Português - Portuguese English
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:
Address: Quinta das Minas da Recheira, Rua das Minas da Recheira (EN 343 Barco-Silvares), 6215-097 Barco / Covilhã, Tel: +351-912-275-075, Tel: +351-910-535-645, Cell: +351-275-011-055. 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

1940s ores discovered by César Fernandes.
26-APR-1962 Karl Dietrich Thobe presents a Manifesto Mineiro to be registered.
24-OCT-1962 Sociedade Minas do Zêzere, S.A.R.L. requests the mining permit.
1966 mine opened.
NOV-1971 end of mining.
1971-1974 gold ore from a mine in Coimbra treated on the site.
1996 Mining Concession extinguished.
2020 reopened as a tourist mine.

Geology

The Província metalogenética estano-tungstífera Ibérica (Iberian tin-tungstiferous metallogenetic province) extends from the northwest of diagonally through the peninsula. In this belt numerous deposits of tin and tungsten can be found. The area Barco is located at the southern edge of this area. The phyllospheric deposits are of major economic importance. They were formed during the variszian orogeny in the phases F1 and F3. The first are characterized by predominantly northwest-southeast oriented folds, with vertical axial plane. Phase F3 developed in intracontinental ductile shear large, small-amplitude folds with vertical and axial planes and sub-horizontal axes, following a nortwest-southeast compression, associated with these shearings.

Most of the outcropping rocks are granites and schists of the Complexo Xisto Grauváquico (Greywacke Schist Complex). There are also rocks of Upper Precambrian, Ordovician and Silurian age. The granite intrusions were the origin of the deposits, some linked to the magmatic stage, others to the hydrothermal stage. In other words, magma reaching the surface brought various metals to the surface. Magma getting stuck cooled slowly causing convection of ground water which transported dissolved metals and other minerals and deposited them in clefts. The result are polymetallic seams, with a high content of tin (cassiterite) and tungsten (wolframite). They also contain muscovite, quartz and sulphides as secondary minerals without economic interest.

The veins are surrounded by marine sediments which suffered regional low grade metamorphism (green schist facies) during the initial compressive phases of the variscan orogeny. The sedimentary formations at the Recheira Mine belong to the Upper Cambrian to the Pre-Cambrian, with ages between 541 and 485 Ma.

Description

Quinta das Minas da Recheira was originally known as Mina do Alemão (Mine of the Germans), because it was opened in the 1960s by two German brothers. The tungsten mining in portugal is much older, it started in the 1930s, with Great Britain and Germany looking for tungsten to produce high quality steel for armour. Both countries knew about tungsten in Portugal, and so they sent agents which offered a high price for tungsten ore. The result was a sort of gold rush called corrida ao volfrâmio. The farm belonged to the family of César Fernandes, who discovered strange rocks on his field in the 1940s. At this time the tungsten rush was already over, and he had no intention to open a mine on his fertile land. In the early 1960s the two brothers Karl Dietrich Thobe and Walter Thobe came to the area. The also discovered the ores, or were probably told by César Fernandes, and decided to mine the ore. They successfully presented a Manifesto Mineiro in 1962, and after carrying out the necessary mining research requested a Mining Concession Permit in the same year. This was done by the company Minas do Zêzere, SARL, and they received the Mining Concession Permit No 3361. This company was a concessionaire and has exploration rights for nine mines.

After organizing the necessary machinery, tools and miners, the mine was finally opened in 1966. They built various exploration tunnels in the next five years, but with a production of only 2t of tin in the last year, the mine was far from being profitable. As a result they closed the mine, before it actually produced any profit. But the machinery on the site for crushing and sorting ore was working and so they treated the gold ore which came from a mine in Coimbra from 1971 to 1974. This mine belonged to the same company. Then the mine was closed. The mine was again analyzed in 1995 and the existence of Lithium and Yttrium predicted. Nevertheless the mine was not reopened and in 1996 the Mining Concession was extinguished.

The Mina da Recheira has five galleries, Galleries 1, 2 and 3 have connections between them through crosscuts and vertical shafts. Some of those shafts are connected to the surface. Gallery 1 is oriented with 30° while all other galleries are oriented at 50°. The mine is equipped with the original machinery and tools, and manequins which show how they were used. The quartz veins with tin and tungsten were mined by drilling holes with pneumatic hammers with water injection. The compressed air was supplied by a motor-compressor group with a diesel engine. The holes were filled with explosive charges of gelamonite, pushed into the holes with wooden sticks, and fired in a sequence. The was located above the river, the cooling water in the mine was drained with an adit, the water was flowing out one of the tunnels. It was used in a closed circuit, cleaned through a series of decantation tanks, and then again used for drilling.

The Salão Mineiro (Miner's Hall) is the biggest chamber in the mine with an area of 100 m². It is available for receptions and events. It is regularly used for the tasting and promotion of regional and national products, cultural and musical events, for birthday parties, weddings, business events, teambuilding activities and others.