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Binntal, Switzerland: the micromounter paradise
  
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Joan R.




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PostPosted: Jul 18, 2007 08:11    Post subject: Binntal, Switzerland: the micromounter paradise  

Joan Rosell & David Hospital.- We planned to travel to Binn Valley a long time ago, in order to spend some days there visiting the different quarries and deposits of the area and, also, make a visit to the already famous Binn Mineral Show, at the end of July. Finally, this summer we got to arrange a trip to the valley.

After doing the trip from Barcelona to Binn in one day by car (about 1000 Km) we arrived to Ofenhorn Hotel in Binn, the most famous hotel in the valley. This old-time hotel, opened at the end of 19th century, still has an old-fashioned style, so our stage there was a great pleasure.

Next day we went to the Binn Mineral Show, always the last weekend of July. It’s a classical alpine-type show, with plenty of material from the area, that we can’t find in other bigger shows, like Munich or Saint-Marie-aux-Mines Shows. We saw a lot of material from the nearby Lengenbach quarry at a reasonably prices, and we could also speak with the well-known swiss photographer Walter Gabriel, whom an interview with him was published in a back issue of the Spanish version of Mineral Up, Revista de Minerales (vol.VIII, num.3, 2002).

We spent the following days to go around the different places of interest in the valley. Binntal is actually very small, being basically three towns: Binn, Giessen and Imfeld, with some other very small inhabited places, being Binn the biggest of all with a population of only 200 inhabitants.

But, if you’re lacking of time to search minerals in the area, you can buy them in shops. We advise you to visit the Toni Imhof’s shop in the center of Binn, and the André Gorsatt shop in Imfeld. Even though both shops are focused on tourist material, they have a good offer for mineral collector’s.

You can find here cafarsite, cervandonite, asbecasite, senaite-crichtonite, tilasite, etc, all of them typical from the valley. Even more focused on tourists we have the MONIK shop in Imfeld.

On the other hand, most interesting is to visit directly the quarries. The most famous and interesting of them is Lengenbach; you can reach it in a 20 minutes walk from Imfeld. Even though entrace to the quarry is not allowed, you can find some good micromount material in the dumps. Dolomite there is really fresh and has a good potential of binnite, sphalerite, realgar, dravite and also some sulphosalts like sartorite and baumhauerite.

Just 100 meters west from Lengenbach we find Messerbach, another dolomitic quarry where is much more difficult to find something. We can say the same about the third quarry we visited, Turtschi, in the right side of the road from Binn to Giessen. If you are interested in a harder excursion like going to Alp Lercheltini (Gorb, Spiessen,…) we advise you to speak with an alpine guide, the most famous of them is André Gorsatt, who guides mineral-oriented excursions in the valley.

Last but not least, we want to pinpoint two small but very interesting mineral museums. First in Binn Museum, next to the Ofenhorn hotel where we find a good selection of minerals from the valley, especially a complete room focused in Lengenbach with 3D-maquettes of the different stages of the exploitation. Second, the private museum of André Gorsatt, on the surroundings of Imfeld, that surprised us for the big quality of the displayed minerals .
But if you prefer a good lunch after so many minerals, you can’t avoid a visit to the Restaurant Imfeld, in Imfeld of course, where Pius, the picturesque sthraler owner, will receive you with his savoir-faire and will allow you to take a photograph with his most showy self-found minerals.



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Joan R.




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PostPosted: Jul 18, 2007 08:13    Post subject:  

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David and Joan after a good dolomite mineral search works...
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Steve Kukla




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PostPosted: Jun 28, 2021 18:30    Post subject: Re: BINNTAL, SWITZERLAND: the micromounter paradise  

Your post inspired me, so I have planned a trip to the Binntal region in September (2021) and my 1st trip to Switzerland. Is a mineral collecting permit and fee required to collect in Canton Valais (Wallis)?
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Dany Mabillard




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PostPosted: Jun 29, 2021 06:15    Post subject: Re: BINNTAL, SWITZERLAND: the micromounter paradise  

Steve Kukla wrote:
Your post inspired me, so I have planned a trip to the Binntal region in September (2021) and my 1st trip to Switzerland. Is a mineral collecting permit and fee required to collect in Canton Valais (Wallis)?


Hello Steve,

Here is some information. The permit to collect is given by the local authorities in Switzerland (municipalities). At this link, with no guarantee, you can find some information. VS is for Vallais/Wallis.
https://www.svsmf.ch/images/patente/schweizer-strahler-patente-2-17.pdf
(link normalized by FMF)

The way to get information about Binn is through the following internet site : https://www.landschaftspark-binntal.ch/en/index.php
You'll find detailed information and how to contact the park. I don't think you can go inside the mine but you can ask with the e-mail you'll find. They always keep the dumps with new materials in order to give people the opportunity to find "things". Here is a page with some photos I took some years ago : https://www.mineral-forum.com/message-board/viewtopic.php?p=67963
If you go to Valais/Wallis, don't forget that this is the most beautiful region in the world (just kidding... or not) so don't just concentrate in the minerals during you trip. If you need practical information, just let me know, I'll try to find the information for you and answer with my poor English.

Have a nice day.

Dany.
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Steve Kukla




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PostPosted: Jun 29, 2021 06:58    Post subject: Re: Binntal, Switzerland: the micromounter paradise  

Dany, thank you so much for the link to your mineral adventure in Binn and the Valais collecting information. I plan to explore the Lengenbach quarry area (and any other recommended localities within a 2-hour trek/excursion from Hotel Ofenhorn. I will rely on public transportation (and my feet) to get from Fiesch to Binn, and I will visit the mineral collection at the regional museum. If the collecting permit is not possible, then I am perfectly happy with in-situ photographs at the localities. For me, the thrill is simply the journey of discovery and learning about the cultural history of a region and it’s geological history.
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Dany Mabillard




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PostPosted: Jun 29, 2021 07:16    Post subject: Re: Binntal, Switzerland: the micromounter paradise  

Steve Kukla wrote:
Dany, thank you so much for the link to your mineral adventure in Binn and the Valais collecting information. I plan to explore the Lengenbach quarry area (and any other recommended localities within a 2-hour trek/excursion from Hotel Ofenhorn. I will rely on public transportation (and my feet) to get from Fiesch to Binn, and I will visit the mineral collection at the regional museum. If the collecting permit is not possible, then I am perfectly happy with in-situ photographs at the localities. For me, the thrill is simply the journey of discovery and learning about the cultural history of a region and it’s geological history.


You're welcome. Outside the quarry, it's authorized and recommended to search in the dumps. In fact, it's one of the activities that attracts the visitors and is promoted by the tourism office.
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