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This 24 kilometer hiking loop will allow you to discover the mining heritage of the Canigó Massif, including the mining colony of La Pinosa, rehabilitated by the Syndicat Mixte Canigó Grand Site.
The Canigó Massif is surrounded by an iron belt. It's a story of long time specialists who tell us about the evolution of rocks, not so dormant as they seem! Iron is an ore that forms in a vein by transformations of pre-existing rocks. Under the action of tectonic movements, rocks deform, heat up and water intrusions produce a chain of chemical reactions that lead to the formation of iron.
Present in the form of oxides (hematite) or carbonates, the iron ore of Canigó has long been renowned for its quality, thanks to its high iron content (commonly exceeding 50%) and manganese, a substance that prevents rapid oxidation of soft iron, as well as the absence or almost of phosphorus and sulphur.
This iron has been exploited since Antiquity, notably during the time of the Republic and the High Roman Empire (IIe century BC – Ier century AD), but it was in the XNUMXe century that mining will take a turn, with industrialization and the establishment of an ingenious ore transport system (cable car, railway) from the slopes of the Massif to the valley stations.
The circuit consists of 4 stages,
It can be done in two days, with a night at the Batera refuge, one of the 5 guarded refuges of the Canigó Massif:
- From Coll Palomeres to La Pinosa
- From La Pinosa to the Batera Refuge
- From the Batera refuge to the Torre de Batera
- From Torre de Batera to Coll Palomeres
The loop passes through several major iron industry sites: the former mining colony of La Pinosa, whose development was completed in the spring of 2022; the Ménerots mining site, the Batera mining site. All along the path, which partly follows the old railway line, vestiges of this heritage are visible, and will tell you the story of a resource and the men who exploited it.
A Rando-patrimoine topo-guide will be available next spring to guide you on this path.