Ancient copper mines on the territory of the Pradet, Cape Garonne mine is considered one of the most beautiful mineralogical sites of the planet. It attracts researchers from around the world for its immense geological interest. At the top of Cap Garonne, the site has a unique unspoiled nature and an amazing view over the Iles d'Or and the harbor of Toulon.
The history of the mine begins in a sandstone quarry paving stones, in the middle of the 19th century, when one realizes that the extracted materials containing copper and lead. The extraction work takes on a new form: the site becomes a copper mine, where the ore is extracted and sent to Wales for treatment. Unprofitable because of the stroke of transport, the mine was bought in 1873 by an Englishman. It is prosperous for ten years, because of good management of operations and the rise in copper prices on the international market. The activity decreases and the site loses its profitability when child labor is hampered by a geological fault. Capitalization mine Garonne close eight years from 1884 to 1892 when the dealership is taken over by a French who decides to treat the ore on site and be intended for the manufacture of Bordeaux mixture for viticulture. Still unprofitable, the mine will successively between the 19th and 20th century, at the hands of the Cap Garonne Mining Company, the duo Enderlin and Roche entrepreneurs and adventurer Bolo Pasha. The final judgment of copper mining on the Garonne course takes place in 1917. The mine fills the role of intermittent mushroom in the first half of the 20th century, then abandoned his remaining galleries open to the curious and minerals robbers . Scientists get excited before the mineralogical richness of the site. It was during the 80s and 90s that the site will be closed and secured, then arranged for the visits.
The Mining Museum was inaugurated in 1994. The tours are guided: they lead to the heart of the mine, to the discovery of the site's history and the lives of miners. Visitors, equipped with a helmet, have a guided tour very much alive in underground galleries punctuated reconstructing scenes. mineral collections are also admire: from nearly 140 different minerals found on the site, 14 had never been listed in the world.
The site hosts several events throughout the year, as the hunt for Easter eggs, Museum Night or Christmas at the mine. The Cape Garonne Mine is a partner or organizer of local events of importance as the living minerals.
The massif is in itself an exceptional natural site suitable for walks and hikes. The mines are identified walking trails criss-crossing the Garonne course. Initially the Mining Museum, hiking loop of 1.5 km easy to make family to discover the natural environment of the massif and its main species. Part of the itinerary offers a unique view of the Giens peninsula, the peninsula of Saint-Mandrier, the three Golden Isles of Hyeres and the beautiful harbor of Toulon. The discovery trail also runs along the former quarry sandstone pavers, which updates the different geological strata.