The “Genna Olidone” mine

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Below the town of Baunei in the “Genna Olidone” area, between the church of St. Lussorio and the small village of Ardali, are the ruins of the buildings and equipment used to mine a deposit of silver galena, also known as “silver-lead”, during the first half of the twentieth century.

In 1912, this important deposit, discovered in 1910, was licensed to the “Ichnusa Mining Company”, which at the time already held the licence for the “Su Stabilimentu” lithographic quarry in Baunei. For many Baunesis, the opening of the “Genna Olidone” mine was an opportunity to work for a salary, a significant factor at that time, given that even in a predominantly agro-pastoral society, it made the hard and dangerous job of a miner economically attractive. That is why the miners who worked underground, together with the women who were given the outdoor job of sorting the material mined, were regarded by other villagers as almost being privileged.

The mine also turned out to be a great job opportunity for the owners of carts (“us carradores”) who were responsible for transporting the ore mined at “Genna Olidone” to the port of Arbatax, where it was loaded onto ships headed to the foundries “in Continente” (“on the mainland”). A small village soon rose round the mine, consisting of the director's house (who only occasionally visited the site), the guardian and the miners’ houses, built by the mining company. During the first years of mining, the main exploration tunnel reached a length of 400 metres. After 1916, the driving force of the equipment used in the mine was increased when a diesel engine that had been used by “Ichnusa” in the lithographic quarry was positioned near the wash-house. It was thus possible to use compressed air in drilling operations and extract water from the tunnels. In 1925, the license passed from the “Ichnusa Mining Company” to the “Rosas Mining Company”, which exploited the mine up to forties, after which the “Genna Olidoni Company” took over. A flood in 1943 made the tunnels unusable. The mining facility first closed in 1948. A re-opening in the sixties did not provide the expected results, so the “Genna Olidone” mine was finally abandoned once and for all.