Galice a eu un rôle important dans la Seconde Guerre mondiale à cause du woGalicia had an important role in the Second World War due to the wolfram which had a great importance in the military industry, having reached its peak, since the end of the Civil War until 1955, due to its high demand because of the World War II World and also of the Korean War.

This mineral was very important in making steel alloy, used in the manufacture of military weapons, because it would increase their resistance. This property was used by armies around the world to develop ordnance with shields more effective; guns with higher resistance to explosion and simultaneously enable them to reach longer distances.

The wolfram had a decisive importance for the Germans, because  the main sources of this mineral in Europe were in Galicia, which led to the development of mining districts such as Valdeorras, Xallas, Trasdeza, Bergantiños, Lobios, y Barbanza, all of them rich in wolfram.

Galicia was therefore for the Germans, their only source of supply. They needed the galician wolfram to harden the shielding of his arms and their enemies they had to avoid, no matter how, that it could happen, that’s why this product had a very high demand by the Germans and English, making the price reach the 200 pesetas a kilo, at that time.

The galician mines have become centers of employment for thousands of Galicians, getting to have some of them in their heyday, around 1000 workers. Many of these workers earned enough money, avoiding an exodus in a period of deep crisis, exile and emigration.

To earn even a little more, some miners stole the mineral at the companies to sell it on the black market. Others went to the Galician hills and by their own means they extract the wolfram, then selling it through smuggling. This practice was known as "ir a roubeta".

The end of World War II marked the terminus of the first mining heyday, due to the falling prices resultant of the supply of this mineral from other countries. A second peak miner will emerge in the early years of the 50s, with the Korean War, which again raises the prices, since the supply of Far Eastern countries is interrupted.

At present the wolfram mines of Galicia are practically abandoned.

In the province of Ourense we highlight two mines:  Las Sombras (The Shadows) in Lobios and the Alemanes (The Germans ) in Casaio, Carballadela of Valdeorras.

Category: Spain