MUTILOA, ORMAIZTEGI AND ZERAIN

Goierri´s mining park

Welcome to Goierri´s mining park and the Grrenway

We are in Goierri, in the Basque Highlands of Euskadi, where nature touches the sky and culture and gastronomy form a binomial with origin of denomination. The mining past of the region can be felt in the Goierri´s Mining Park, where we will be able to move to times when mineral extraction was the way of life of many goierritarras (people from the region).

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We present Goierri´s Mining Park, formed by various elements, all related to the strong mining industry that, from remote times, has remained until the beginning of the twentieth century.

As the main element we have the Green Way between Mutiloa and Ormaiztegi, which runs through the old mining railway used to transport the mineral extracted in the area’s minefields and transport it to Ormaiztegi, from where it was carried by rail to the nearby sea ports.

In addition to the Via Verde we have 3 tracks to access and link with the old mining cores. Now you will be able to enjoy the entire Goierri Mining Park from Ormaiztegi, Mutiloa or Zerain, walk the path through which the mineral was transported by air cable and be able to know the different resources of the area, such as the Zumalakarrangi Museum and the Ormaiztegi railway bridge, the ovens of Aizpitta, the ethnographic area, the hydraulic sawmill in Zerain, and the Barnaola area in the village of Mutiloa, as well as the town itself and the district of Liernia.

AIR CABLE WAY

From the Aizpea ovens, the ore was carried by an air cable to Barnaola and from here it was transported by train to Ormaiztegi. We cannot go through the air, and that is why this new road has been created, which links Aizpea with Barnaola mines and allows us to go all the way that the mineral made.

TROI WAY

The Troi route is the route to access to Mutiloa mining area. We started this route in the village of Mutiloa, and after a section on the road, near Troi river, to reach Barnaola. The structures of two decantation dikes and the storage and transport of Mutiloa minebox are lifted next to the same name. From here the mining railway linking with Ormaiztegi, now converted in a Grren Way, started. The road follows the signs of GR283.

Gi SL 36

From the village of Zerain a local path to access the Aizpitta furnaces from where we can make all the new journey to Ormaiztegi. This local path is also a circular route.

MUTILOA-ORMAIZTEGI GREEN WAY

The Mutiloa-Ormaiztegi Green Way was a mining route of origin. It is attached to the mountainous slopes, above the urban areas to which it refers. Its beauty lies in the panoramic valleys at its feet and the forest mass surrounding it. There is an orientation game suitable for families and children. The map is collected at the tourist office of Ormaiztegi.

HISTORY ABOUT MINING SITES

In Mutiloa, the iron ore, extracted in Peatza, Ollargain, Gezurmuño or Aizpuru, was, since medieval times, the main provider of the active ferreries of the upper basins of the valleys of the Urola and Oria River.

At the end of the nineteenth century, La Compañía Minera de Mutiloa S.A. imposed a more organized and systematic exploitation. To achieve this, it built up the necessary infrastructures to meet the requirements of the new production system: the mining railway that ran through the coto from the vicinity of the Barnaola farmhouse to the Ormaiztegi station, the inclined planes, the mineral sinks and decantation rafts… which together with the school, the canteens and the office occupied and substantially altered the slopes of the Ergoña district.

Iron ore fed the great English and French foundries like Les Forges del Adour de Boucou in Baiona. In 1927 they sent the last ore load.
During the Second World War, a German company took a specific interest in this area, and in the 1950s Legazpi company Patricio Echeverria S.A. extracted enough iron ore to supply the newly built sponge furnaces.

In the 1970s, the Canadian company Exminesa discovered the rich lead strand of the Troya Mine that was active until 1993. It was the last episode of a mining tradition rooted for centuries in both Mutiloa and the Basque Country.

Also in Zerain mining has been an unequivocal fact since the Middle Ages. The most intense activity started in the middle of the 19th century and at the end of the same century, foreign capital companies, English, Dutch, German companies reorganise the coto and start to work systematically with the installation of new technological elements: internal mining railways, calcination furnaces, air cables… This mineral was strongly demanded by European steel companies. Market fluctuations and international conflict, above all, made extractive activity not continuous.

The last work of the band took place in the 1950s when the company Patricio Exheverria S.A. de Legazpi took an interest in iron steels in the conjunctural shortage of scrap which fed the furnaces of its steel industry.
This activity has left us an interesting landscape and cultural heritage where the calcination workshop stands out with its three impressive furnaces that receive us next to the Aizpitta Interpretation Center.

We have discovered and restored mining structures, open abandoned roads and consolidated meadows and wetlands of high ecological value. We invite you to enjoy this mining heritage, the routes enabled, the lookouts and the signs installed. A hopeful and future bet to enjoy and know our landscape.

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