Life Below the Mountain

Dating back to 1896, the Panasqueira mines are the largest tungsten mines in Europe with more than 12 thousand kilometres of tunnels dug by man. Situated in the Castelo branco district, the mines had their biggest development during the second world war due to the usage of tungsten in the metal league of weaponry. Currently the usage of the tungsten is more oriented to the electronics industry, from lamp filaments to bulldozer blades and also surgical material. With the increasing demand for tungsten, especially by the American, Japanese and Austrian markets, the Panasqueira mines have regained life employing currently more than 300 people that operate in very dim light conditions for two eight hour shifts, exposed to the elements that surround them, but never forgetting their daily challenge against nature in one unique job in an underworld city.