Rio de Frades is located in the Parish of Cabreiros, Council of Arouca, District of Aveiro.

The oldest known license for the exploitation of Rio de Frades, dates back to 1920 and was granted to the Societé Franco-Portugaise, that later sold its grant to the Mining Company in Northern Portugal (Companhia Mineira do Norte de Portugal), owned by German capital. It was through this company that Couto Mineiro de Rio de Frades underwent through major works of improvement (Silva, et al., 2004).

From 1942 until late 1944, the Mining Company of Northern Portugal performs the most important investments in the region. The road connecting Arouca to Rio de Frades is built, the mine facilities are electrified and a telephone line is installed (Vilar, 1998).

They also made huge investments in the ore separators and in the washing sections, so that the tungsten came out of Rio de Friars properly treated, going directly to the Regulatory Commission of Metals Trade (Comissão Reguladora do Comércio de Metais) and subsequently to export (Vilar, 1998).

The chief administrator of the Couto Mineiro de Rio de Frades was the German Dithmer Kurt, strong athletic build, who arrived in Portugal at the service of the steel company Krupp, to buy and sell wolfram to Germany. (Vilar, 1998) The family home was located in Ermesinde, in Travessa do Mirante, where in times of poverty, he liked to help local people "...he left a good reputation here in the region ... he gave soup to the poor ... work to people ... look here at this gate where on Saturdays, in his time, they  distributed soup..." [Informal collective interview No. 68. Ermesinde, November, 1998] (Lage, 2000: 168).

Category: Industrial Heritage

It is located in the Parish of Covelo de Paivó, Council of Arouca, District of Aveiro.

The first known license for the exploitation of the mine of Regoufe dates back to 1922 and was granted to the French and British citizens. In 1941, the Company of Portuguese Mines is formed, and it acquired the license, being exclusively of British capital. Like Rio de Frades, these mines exploitation will have a large increment from this moment on. This company will be responsible for huge improvements, such as opening of the road, the introduction of electric light and telephone (Vilar, 1998).

"There were about 700 people working here ...  those who needed to earn came here; those who lived near here, came and went home every day ... there were other who stayed here for years and even  died here ...  many galleries are damaged ... the water turned green from arsenic ... the ore ruined the lands, beans no longer grow here ..." [3 Interview in Regoufe. 1 Interview with Mr. Joseph "Tavern from the time of tungsten, March 1997] (Lage, 2000: 196).

"... The Company has paid about 40 000$00 to the people for the two or three years that worked here... It spent a lot of ... electricity, telephone, roads, ... when they didn’t go to the mine ... They played cards ...there were taverns ... ... this one already existed ... I just started to leave this place and go see other places, with the Company’s staff  in the truck..." [3 Interview in Regoufe. 1 Interview with Mr. Joseph "Tavern from the time of tungsten, March 1997] (Lage, 2000: 197).

Category: Industrial Heritage

It is located in the Parish of Manhouce, Council of São Pedro do Sul, District of Viseu.

Geologically the Mines of Chãs belong to the same area of Rio de Frades and Regoufe.  Although its production was much lower, these mines were very important for the region.

It is worth noting that its wolframite was more pure than the one from Rio de Frades. (Moura et al., 2006).

When considering mining archaeological remains, these mines seem to have had significant mining activity. According to the testimony of ex-miners, Dithmer, the well-known German dealer also came here to negotiate the wolfram of these mines (Lage, 2000).

"... they managed so that the ore of the English passed into the hands of the Germans ...  the ores from Borralha, Marão, the mining company of Chãs ..." [1 interview with Manuel Torres Tan. Porto, November, 1997].

 

Category: Industrial Heritage

It is located in the Parish of Cabril, Council of Castro Daire, District of Viseu.

The mines of Moimenta in Cabril, according to the testimony of former miners, were a very well organized complex and it had very good equipment. The use of jackhammers and explosives at the opening of the galleries was very common (Ferreira, 1955).

"I worked inside the mine drilling; it was all drilled with air hammers ... then the fire was prepared (explosives) and the burst was made. The mines had several openings..." [Resident in Moimenta, Antonio Mendes Pinto, 74].

This complex also had its own washing section "When I was young, about twenty years I worked in the washing section. The rocks were crushed, went for a table and then the water and acid helped separate the tungsten, I say acid because all my clothes got burned..." [Resident in  Moimenta, Alice Duarte da Silva, 78 years].

These mines still have an important industrial heritage. You can still see the rail wagons that carried the ore. Gravity pushed them when they were loaded, when empty human hand pushed them to the loading place.

A good observation of the area brings out the complexity of this undertaking (Ferreira, 1955).

Category: Industrial Heritage

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