La Pilona

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The landmark of Malgrat

La Pilona is a real symbol in Malgrat de Mar and it is the most important remnant from the mining period of the town. In 1909 a powerful French mining company created Malgrat Iron Mine Society, which invested a large amount of capital to solve the infrastructure problems that made previous exploitation attempts fail. An aerial transport system was built with cables attached to metal towers, on which waggons full of iron travelled. This transport system covered about 1.5 km from the land to the charging station in the sea, built on the platform called La Pilona. From this point, located 450 m away from the beach, the material was loaded directly into the ships’ holds.

On 12 November 1911 the first of 21 cargoes took place. The first year the system transported 34,000 tons of iron (every cargo weighted between 3,000 and 4,000 tons) which were sent mainly to England. There was about 270 men working in the mine, many of them from Murcia region, especially from a town called Ramonete, from where plenty of them emigrated to come to work in the mines of Malgrat. When a ship arrived to load the material, about four or five men worked on the aerial charging station and about eight worked on La Pilona, the platform over the sea. When the World War started in 1914, the mines were closed for good, after 21 cargoes in total.

La Pilona is built on a solid brick base. Its structure supported an elongated platform where the pulleys that pulled the cables were situated. On top of this structure, eight workers were responsible for emptying the waggons. Ships moored to the bollards of La Pilona or to deadmen arranged for that purpose (Malgrat Hiking Group recovered one in the sea in 1980, which is currently exhibited in Àncora square).