From here, heading south for a few meters from Via Cerussite, which allows us to reach the equipped square E. Cocco, you take the underpass that allows for a safe crossing of SS-126 and access the San Giovanni Mining Site.
At the entrance of the San Giovanni Mine, you can admire a valuable bas-relief depicting the effigy of Santa Barbara. Continuing to the right and following the entire asphalt road that winds through the ruins of mining buildings and some still inhabited houses, you can go and visit the fascinating and spectacular Santa Barbara Cave, by prior reservation.
Shortly before the building of the old ore-washing facility, 150 meters from the entrance of the San Giovanni Mining complex, turning left leads to a barrier that grants access to the path within the pine forest, created as a final reforestation effort to rehabilitate former mining waste dump sites.
Following the pine forest section, you’ll reach the point where Stage 30’s route reconnects with the High Variant (Seddas Moddizzi – Sa Macchina Beccia) to proceed, as the sole track, towards the ruins of the Monteponi Scalo mining station.
From the pine forest, you descend in a northward direction and rejoin the old railway track near the small bridge over the San Giorgio River, which you cross. Continuing past the gate put up by the CMSB Foundation and following the old railway route, you arrive at the mineral loading area near the old Monteponi Railway Station buildings.
After leaving the old railway terminal, you head east on the dirt road that runs alongside the old power station to your right, eventually reaching the asphalt road that leads to the junction at the beginning of the Villa Marini curves on SS126.
From this point, the trail follows two different paths:
Finally, by following the streets within the historic center of Iglesias, you return to Piazza Q. Sella. After walking for over 500 kilometers in the southwestern region of Sardinia, amidst the historical evidence of 8,000 years of Sardinian peoples’ history and on the oldest land in Europe, the Cammino Minerario di Santa Barbara begins and ends.
The Bindua hamlet (Iglesias), with its mining origins, is located between the former mining districts of San Giovanni Miniera, Monteponi, and Monte Agruxiau, not far from Monte Scorra.
In the past, each of these mines had its associated mining village, which, with the flourishing of mining activities, was equipped with progressively better buildings and services.
With the exception of the now-ruined Monte Scorra settlement, there are still urban settlements in the hamlet of Monte Agruxiau (Iglesias), the residential area of San Giovanni Miniera (Iglesias), the Normann Village (Gonnesa), and the residential area of Monteponi, which is located on the outskirts of Iglesias today.
The lead, silver, and zinc metalliferous mine of Monteponi was one of Italy’s most significant industrial facilities for a long time.
The underground resources in this area, already known for their metal wealth, have been exploited since ancient times, with historical evidence dating back to the Roman period and extending to the time of the Pisans, who drafted the “Breve di Villa di Chiesa,” one of the earliest mining codes in Europe.
In 1850, industrial mining activities began in these areas with the establishment of the Royal Mining Company of Monteponi, initiating productive operations that would lead it to assume a prominent role in Sardinia’s industrial landscape.
The significance of this mine resulted in the leadership being entrusted to technicians and managers of great national value, such as Giovanni Galletti, Giulio Keller, Carlo Baudi, Adolfo Pellegrini Erminio Ferraris, Roberto Cattaneo, and Francesco Sartori.
Among the most representative industrial buildings, the two main shafts stand out: the Vittorio Emanuele II shaft, built in 1869, and the Quintino Sella shaft, constructed in 1874. Despite their industrial purposes, these structures exhibit architecture with classical influences.
The residential core is dominated by the Bellavista Palace, the headquarters, constructed in 1865-66 by engineer Adolfo Pellegrini. Just below, you can find the entrance courtyard and service buildings, including the old hospital, the church, the nursery, and the school, all built between the two World Wars.
The current church, dedicated to Santa Barbara and inaugurated in 1945, was transformed from the Fascist Party headquarters (1936) with the addition of a bell tower and geometric pediment.
In the valley below the Monteponi complex, beyond the current SS-126, you can still see the ruins of the industrial and civil buildings of the Monteponi Scalo station (industrial railway station), which was active from the 1920s to 1969.
Among the ruins of various predominantly industrial structures, the most prominent is the reinforced concrete and brick sulfuric acid production plant. You can still appreciate the remains of the large inclined plane, set on the eastern side of the characteristic red mud embankment upstream, which led to the railway station. You can still see the two segments of the inclined plane, especially the one upstream, separated by the section that was demolished to make way for the new SS126.
With the passage through this important mining site in Stage 01, at the start, and the passage with Stage 30 at the end of the Cammino Minerario di Santa Barbara, a comprehensive and representative view of the mining world and the deep historical roots of this territory is presented.
Monte Scorra Mine:
The lead and zinc mine of Monte Scorra was opened in 1890 under a concession granted to the Mining Company of Malfidano. In 1935, the concession was transferred to the Monteponi Company, and in 1962, it was jointly held by the Monteponi and Montevecchio – Monteponi companies.
Mining operations were conducted underground through an extensive network of tunnels, with the peak of activity occurring in the 1950s.
A village was established in the Canale Genn’e Rutta valley not far from the industrial buildings (shaft, construction yards, and ore-washing facility). During its peak development period, the village accommodated around 200 residents.
The depletion of mineral deposits in the early 1970s led to the closure of the mine, and with the cessation of mining activities, the village gradually depopulated.
Stage 01 of the CMSB, which runs from Iglesias to Nebida (Iglesias), passes near the ruins of the village and the mining structures.
Monte Agruxiau Mine:
The lead and zinc mine, opened under a concession granted to the Vieille Montagne Company in 1869, was one of the most productive in the Iglesiente region.
In 1896, the concession was divided with the neighboring Monte Fenugu Mine, managed by entrepreneur Carlo Zimmerman, and in 1941, it passed to the An. Nichelio and Metalli Nobili Company.
In 1946, the concession was acquired by AMMI, and in 1979, it passed to Samim until mining operations were suspended in 1981.
The mining site features a large open-pit excavation and a small miners’ village with the Santa Barbara Church. The most prominent mining infrastructure includes the ruins of the processing plant, the extraction shaft, and the hoist room embedded in the mountain.
Stage 01 of the CMSB, running from Iglesias to Nebida (Iglesias), exits the Monteponi district, crosses SP84, and follows the main axis of the Monte Agruxiau mining village, passing near the Santa Barbara Church before continuing towards Monte Scorra.
Do not stray from the marked path as the surrounding areas are characterized by dangers arising from mining structures such as Furnaces, Tunnels, Excavations, and mining waste dumps.
Along the route, do not handle the material piled in the mining waste dumps located near the path.