Prau Molín Adit
Santa Bárbara, San Martín del Rey Aurelio
An adit or mine opening is an entryway in the mountain mines. Companies used to reinforce these entryways and build one of them using different shapes, materials, arches and other finishing elements in order to make it stand out. Prau Molín adit has a huge size due to its intense and productive nature during the 20th century, becoming a structural canon for this kind of elements in the company Duro Felguera.
A mine opening is an aperture to the exterior of a gallery that is used as a way out or as an entryway in a mine. The entrance was normally followed by a horizontal or even an inclined tunnel. When this entrance designates the base level of a mountain mining facility with several slope levels, it may be called adit. This entryway has always a weaker side against landslides. Consequently, in some mining facilities, these entryways were reinforced with a façade. This was built with different materials along the years, starting with irregular stone slabs and eventually becoming stone blocks, bricks or artificial stones. Since the beginning, mining companies used to leave their own signature style in these mine openings.
The coal reserves in the valley of Santa Bárbara, located in San Martín del Rey Aurelio, owe its great development to Duro Felguera. This metallurgical society purchased numerous mine properties thanks to the unions and incorporations the company experienced between 1900 and 1920, eventually becoming a large national mining enterprise. In this valley, Duro Felguera created washing plants, a vertical shaft, its own railway branch, and another one connected to the Langreo Railway, etc.
This mine opening was built in 1923 by Duro Felguera to centralize the mountain mining activity and in order to use their own railway branch to transport the coal to the washing plant. A large section of the gallery is opened up to the outside thanks to a segmental arch built using stone ashlar, a material that was also used in the lower part of the gallery, even though its vaults were made of bricks. In the keystone of the mine opening we can see the date and the initials of the company, as well as the symbol of the mining branch of Duro Felguera. When the work started in the Cerezal mine shaft, this mine opening started to play the same role as the Emilia Adit in La Nueva. This means, serving as a connection with the first level of the mine shaft in order for the coal to be transported to the washing plant. Nowadays, it works as drainage for the mine shaft and became an emblem of its locality, which decorated its entrance with monuments and mining machinery and celebrates a religious offering during the feast of Santa Bárbara, patron saint of mining.