The Church of Sant Nicolau, the Tower of the Castle, Torre Ca l’Arnau, Torre de la Vídua de Can Sala… Malgrat de Mar has many emblematic buildings and monuments, but if there is one that stands out above all, it is without a doubt “La Pilona”!
Everyone who visits our town and especially our beaches are very curious to know this iconic building located in the middle of the sea, half a kilometer from the coast, in front of the Astillero beach.
A typical question that many of the tourists and visitors of our town ask is: What is this strange rock?
That is why today, we want to tell you the story of this iconic element of our cultural heritage.
To begin, we will say that it is neither a rock nor an island. It is an artificial platform.
Its origins date back to 1909, a year when a powerful French mining company created the “Malgrat Iron Mine Society”. This company invested a lot of its capital in improving the operating infrastructure that had previously failed. What they did was build an air transport system (a cable car), formed from cables that were supported by mechanical towers, and went from the “Mines of Can Palomeres” to the platform above “La Pilona”. This system had a total route of 1.5 km and, they transported the mineral that came from the mines to the ships.
The human team in charge of operating all the machinery consisted of 270 men, most of them from Murcia, from whose land they emigrated to look for work as miners in Malgrat de Mar. This operation began operating on November 12, 1911, and they made a total of 21 shipments. England was the main destination during the early years that “La Pilona” was operational and received a total of 34,000 tonnes. To carry out these tasks, it took 4 or 5 men to prepare the material from the loading station, plus about eight more, who were on the platform of “La Pilona” and were in charge of emptying the wagons.
In 1914, coinciding with World War I, the exploitation was abandoned. The ship carrying the last shipment (the one carrying the number 21 shipment) was sunk in front of Amsterdam.
If you come to Malgrat de Mar, and you hear some of our visitors wondering what this strange rock is, you can tell them that it is the most important mining vestige in our town.