The mining activity in the San Lucano Valley

. Posted in Mines

Mining from its origins to the 18th century

As in almost all of the Agordino region, a fairly flourishing mining activity took place in the San Lucano valley in the past, with dynasties such as the Crotta family and others of lesser fame as protagonists.

Its unique geological and geomorphological characteristics have meant that it assumed a considerable value also from a mining point of view, especially in the past, and from a mineralogical point of view, the latter aspect still appreciated by collectors. The area is affected by the contact between volcanites and sedimentary rocks, this combination gives rise to numerous collectible minerals such as heulandite, analcime, quartz, amethyst quartz, chalcedony, calcite, etc. and minerals of industrial interest such as pyrite, chalcopyrite, bornite, native copper, siderite, etc.
It is precisely the presence of the latter that has favored the birth of mining in the valley.

It is hypothesized that the beginning of the "mining works" in the San Lucano Valley and in the Agordino goes back to ancient times, even if the first real document certifying the activity dates back to 1666: it is assumed that some mines were already active also in the Roman period. This hypothesis derives from some historical data, such as the documented existence of an iron refining furnace, operating between 1394 and 1509 in the San Lucano valley, in which iron ore from Fursil was also treated.

In the 13th century the Costa family, coming from Venice, settled in Taibon, in Forno di Val, at the exit of the San Lucano Valley, both to exploit the hydraulic energy of the Tegnas stream and to treat the iron coming from the mines of the valley of San Lucano or from neighboring areas, gave rise to a flourishing blacksmith activity.

From the fourteenth to the sixteenth century there are not many documents attesting to mining activities, probably due to the rather troubled historical period for the Agordino.

Starting from 1600, greater political stability in the Agordino and an improvement in living conditions, favored a richer production of written documentation, attesting to the mining research concessions in the Agordino, which suggest an increase in activity also in the valley of San Lucano.

In the 17th century, mining research grew in the San Lucano valley mainly due to two reasons: a great wealth of metalliferous mineralization manifestations with the consequent need to satisfy the growing demands of the Republic of Venice. The exact location of the mines, due to the inaccuracy with which the locations were described at the time, is no longer exactly identifiable: the indications cover a very large area, plus the places have undergone numerous environmental and morphological changes over the centuries and in modern cartography many toponyms have disappeared or have undergone variations.

The points indicating the ancient mines were positioned in part using ancient indications, reconstructed by consulting "News on the mining industry in Venice under the rule of the Republic" by E. Oreglia (1915), and partly with the contribution of geological data now found - mineralized traces - which reinforce its veracity but do not give certainty.

Mining research in the twentieth century, last act

There is no longer any news of mining activities from 1748 until the autarchic period, when, as in the whole of the Agordino territory, searches were reopened in the places where mines had once been documented. Many of these took place precisely in the presumed correspondence of the old investitures mentioned above. With its 10 concessions given by the Republic of Venice in the 17th and 18th centuries, the San Lucano Valley presented itself as one of the most interesting areas and attracted the attention of Belluno entrepreneurs.

Among these was BC di Sospirolo who on 12 October 1924 forwarded the first application for a concession for a research in the municipalities of Taibon and Canale d'Agordo to the Prefect of Belluno, who in turn communicated it to the Royal Body of Mines (CRM). of Padua. A map indicating the area concerned was attached to this question, to which at the request of the C.R.M., a detailed report of the areas identified by him for mining research followed on December 6, 1924. There are 5 locations, 2 in Malgonera, 1 in Valghere and 2 in Campigat.

On the 28th of the same month B.C. submitted a new request for 2 other areas in Cesurette. In the meantime, the annual research licenses held by B. C. expired, who on 4 May 1926 submitted an application for renewal limited to the areas of Campigat 1 and 2 and Cesurette 1 and 2, renouncing those of the Malgonera area. On 2 June of the same year, as announced in his report of 11 January 1926, he forwarded a research request in an area not yet considered, presumed to be located in the area of ​​the Reiane valley, which he probably assumed was that of the old iron mines. of the fam. Crotta, aimed not only for copper but also for iron.

On 14 June 1926, the license for research in the Campigat area was sold to the company L.S. & C. The latest testimony refers to the release in 1929 of the last free research concession in the area.

Thus ends, almost on the sly, the mining history of the San Lucano Valley, returning to nature the areas where man has worked for many centuries. Now the real mine is the entire valley which, with its geological-landscape uniqueness, can still provide a significant economic profit by developing its natural tourist vocation.

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