Mines of Fokis

Vagonetto is a unique theme park, situated on the 51st km. of the Lamia-Amfissa National Road in Greece, between mountains Ghiona and Parnassos, within the broader area of S&B Industrial Minerals S.A. premises. Vagonetto aims at presenting the operation areas of a mine, but also at informing, recreating, and educating the new generations on the history of the exploitation of bauxite, and on the people who worked in mines, honoring and promoting the mining history of Fokis.

History

1967: One of the galleries opened for the underground mining of bauxite in the Ghiona area, is Gallery 850, the number 850 indicating, according to the mining practice, its elevation.

1972: Operations in Gallery 850 stop, since the specific bauxite deposit is exhausted after 5 years of exploitation, and the Gallery closes down.

1998: The company that promoted the area?s bauxite deposits undertakes the project to convert, after a 25-year period, the obsolete gallery into a tourist and educational destination, in order to honor the old miners of Fokis and promote the history of bauxite.

2003: In September, the Vagonetto-Fokis Mining Park opens its doors to the public, after the construction works have been completed and all necessary safety measures taken.

The vagonetto used by the miners to transfer bauxite becomes a means of transportation for the visitors to get to the starting point of their walking itinerary through the history of bauxite.

2008: Inauguration of the audio-guide digital system in six languages (Greek, English, French, German, Spanish, Italian), co-funded by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund) and Greece. This system was designed along the standards of museums like the Louvre, the Vatican, and the Metropolitan Museum of New York.

2009: Inauguration of the new Interactive Wing of Digital Technology, consisting of three new rooms (blue, red, green) and utilizing the entertainment value of digital technology, along with its educational aspect. The project was co-funded by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund) and Greece.

History of Bauxite

1924: the first mining explorations in the Oiti-Ghiona-Parnassos area brought the first resources of poor iron ore to light.

1927: These resources are officially recognized as bauxite resources.

1933-4: Bauxites Parnasse S.A. is founded for the exploitation of bauxite by Euripides Mavromatis and the Eliopoulos brothers, Helias and George, the third brother, Athanassios, joining the company 5 years later.

1935: A first contract of cooperation between the newly founded company and the French Lafarge is signed, which provides for the sales of Greek bauxite to the French company for the production of aluminous cements.

1936: Relevant contracts are signed with British, Scandinavian, and Swiss companies.

1938: Bauxite production at the Parnassos-Ghiona mines reaches 180,000 tons within a year, from 10,000 tons. A new bauxite air-transportation system is built connecting the bauxite mining area with the port of Itea, where bauxite is loaded to ships. The new air-transportation line is 15 km. long.

1940: First trial export of 10,000 tons of bauxite to the Soviet Union.

1941: German occupation forces oblige Bauxites Parnasse S.A. to sell its mines to the German Hansa Leichtmetall Aktien Gesellschaft.

1950: Upon end of the German occupation, the company claims back its mines, having been transferred to the Greek State as spoils of war.

1952: Following a compromise agreement, the Greek State leases to Bauxites Parnasse the mines which formerly belonged to the company, and thus begins their post war operation.

1963: Bauxites Parnasse signs 30 year contract for the supply of bauxite to the new Aluminium de Greece (Pechiney) plant.

1967: The geographic distribution of the new bauxite deposits shift from Mount Parnasse to the Ghiona mountain range, necessitating the transfer of the company?s mining center from Topolia to the 51st km. of the Lamia-Amfissa National Road

Underground Gallery 850

The underground gallery 850 was in operation between 1967 and 1972. It has been restored with all necessary safety measures in place. The visitor, equipped with a hard hat and a waterproof coat, is carried in the VAGONETTO, the wagon train used by the miners some thirty years ago, to the starting point of the walking itinerary. He, then, enjoys a wandering around the unique exhibits, making stops in a typical working day of the old time miners.

Equipped also with a modern auto-guiding system, he can ?hear? the workers speak their own dialect and operate the machines. The gallery is all lighted up, and the ventilation provided appropriate for a comfortable and enjoyable visit. The audio-guide system is available in 6 languages (Greek, English, French, Spanish, Italian, German), and was funded by the European Regional Development Fund. It was granted the distinction of a work-norm by the European Community Support Framework.

Safety at the Vagonetto

At the Vagonetto Fokis Mining Park, all health and safety standards are vigorously upheld. The underground area has been configured according to effective safety rules as they are laid down by national laws and international standards regarding mining. Partial rock removal has been completed throughout the gallery; rock bolts have been used where needed, while in some places a wooden framework has been added.

As to the Vagonetto staff, every year they follow a special training course on effective control and sound operation practices. The mechanical and electrical equipment as well as the gallery's safety conditions are regularly inspected and surveyed by specially trained personnel. Finally, all appropriate medicines and remedies as well as essential personal protective equipment are available in the Vagonetto ride area, with an aim to ensure the safety and health of both visitors and personnel.

Visit Vagonetto

Vagonetto - Fokis Mining Park 51st km Lamia - Amfissa, 331 00 Amfissa, Fokis, Greece Tel. +30 22650 78819, +30 22650 28826, Fax +30 22650 28679 e-mail: info@vagonetto.gr / www.vagonetto.gr

Routes to Vagonetto Athens - Vagonetto At the 110th km. of the Athens-Lamia national road, take the road to Kastro, Orchomenos. Having driven through Orchomenos, right on the crossroads, follow the direction to Amfikleia. Past Amfikleia, there is a signshowing the direction to Gravia and Polydroso, which you disregard and drive on directly towards Lamia. Having reached the next crossroads, you follow the road to Amfissa, while driving around and not through the village of Gravia.

You will reach Vagonetto in 11km. drive distance from there. Lamia Vagonetto From the National Road Athens-Lamia, when reaching Bralos, turn on the right to Gravia and Amfissa. Delphi Vagonetto From Delphi, follow the road signs to Amfissa and, then, to Gravia village.