The Old Mines and Lake of Argentella

Situated at 23km from Calvi and 14km from Galeria, they can be reached by the coast. At the foot of Capu di Argentella (813m above sea level) the mining galleries can be observed and are around a forty minute walk away from the buildings. 

These mines go back to the 19th century, and have not really been exploited since 1910. The buildings belonging to the old factory and the open-air galleries are today in a state of dilapidation. One can find traces of mining activity dating from 1572, when a silver mine was opened by the Genoese. Applications for concessions were made in 1847, but it was not until 1870 that major works were carried out, with developed activity of the mine. Buildings were built, along with a dam in Crovani Bay, and the Julia Port was completed. In 1886, an English company bought the mine and founded the Argentella Mining Limited, which would exploit the deposits over a period of two years, also employing 200 labourers. Following this, it will be exploited unsuccessfully by various buyers as of 1888, finishing with the Mining Company of Corsica in 1928 up to the closure in 1930. The actual collapse of the Argentella concession was pronounced on January 24th, 1964. 

As for the dam, it can hold 80000m3 of water, on an area of 2.37 acres, is 144m wide with a depth of 463m. Today, the facilities are indeed out of order, no longer meeting current safety standards. Both responsible municipalities of Calenzana and Galéria worry about the resistance in the case of strong floods – because just below there is a campsite and houses. 
Here, we need to recall a project for an underground nuclear experimental centre, in the old Argentella mines, which was developed by the Delegate Minister for Atomic Energy, who had travelled there on April 14th, 1960.The purpose of his exploratory mission was to study the conditions of facilities in Corsica. At that time, this idea appeared so unbelievable that the officials reacted violently by creating a departmental defense committee. ‘Ponte-Novu’ was also another committee which brought together officials from both the Cortenais and Balagne area, associated with Commander Cousteau and all the Corsican Diaspora. Many strikes and demonstrations were organised throughout the island. In the newspaper Le Petit Bastiais, one could read:’The solution to the Corsican problem: the atomic bomb’.In 1964, the government will finally renounce to this insane project. The first environmental battle was won. 



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