Traces if coal lignite in cliff of santa Caterina, Manresa

There are traces of coal lignite between grey clay and rusty colours into marine Eocene rocks below the shelter of santa Caterina cliff, above the train station of Renfe and the river Cardener. This coal was exploded in the decade of 1920 by means of one horizontal, roughly one meter high gallery that chases the narrow, discontinuous coal band 40 meters inside the mountain. However, this mine couldn’t be profitable at all because the poor entity, quantity and quality of such coal. On the other hand, the mine hopefully allowed a few young people from Manresa to avoid the mandatory military service when Spain was involved in the unpopular war of Rif in Morocco.

Later on, between 1936 and 1939 during the Spanish civil war, the gallery became one of the shelters in Manresa in case of air bombardment because it is close to the probable target of the train station of North. Indeed in 19.01.1939, when the war was already decided for the side of Franco and the soldiers of the Republic were moving back, the air force of Franco plus planes and pilots from Germany and Italy armies bombed the train station and the railways to hinder the withdrawal. Actually it was the second bombardment in Manresa; first one was in 21.12.1938 and more intense. Subsequent to the first fearful air attack, a lot of people left the city for safety while remaining ones seek quickly shelter when alarms sounded. We don’t know whether the gallery protected anyone. What is really known is that the bombardment caused at least two civil deaths in the neighbourhood.

Water springs from the walls and remains on the floor in the deepest stretch of the gallery, whilst minute stalactites already grow from the ceiling. Sandstone blocks may fall from the ceiling, so the visit is risky. In addition to lignite traces, bright, minute crystals of pyrite are seen.

Even smaller traces of this coal can safely be seen in the opposite side of the valley of Cardener, in the path of Corrals surrounding Puig Cardener.

The 1st picture displays the entrance to the mine in the shelter of santa Caterina, which most likely was already modified when the mine started; the pictures 2nd and 3rd display the coal traces inside.

[photos Jordi Badia]