Copper Mine Point is located on Virgin Gorda, one of the British Virgin Islands, on the rocky south-east coast. The ruins of the former copper mine provide a picturesque contrast to this otherwise completely untouched spot.
Copper Mine Point is located in the south-east of Virgin Gorda, a paradise island belonging to the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean. Copper Mine Point has been a national park since 2003, built around an old copper mine from the 19th century.
History of the Copper Mine
According to rumours and legends, the first shafts of the mine were sunk in the late 15th century by the Spanish explorers in the hope of finding silver. Confirmed is the construction of the mine and its shafts by the British in 1837/38. The deepest shaft reached to about 80 metres below the sea surface! In the following years, over 30 miners from Cornwall in England unearthed iron ore and transported it to Spanish Town, the port of Virgin Gorda, and from there on to Wales.
The yields were not exhilarating, only 24 years later the ore deposits were exhausted and the mine at Copper Mine Point was closed again. Some of the miners started families on Virgin Gorda, whose descendants still live in the British Virgin Islands today.
Visit to Copper Mine Point
Parts and masonry components of the mine's original shaft, engine room and main house can still be seen today. The main attraction of the mine is actually its driving engine from Cornwall, the oldest in the world. It was used to haul away the ore finds and to pump water out of the mine. It can be visited not at its old home but on the idyllic beach of Handsome Bay.
The ruins at Copper Mine Point are now under protection and, due to their unprotected location, are particularly at risk from hurricanes. Plans for a complete reconstruction of the copper mine exist, but their implementation has not yet been initiated. The construction of a cottage for the production of jewellery is also being considered, since there are still small quantities of less valuable stones lying around that would not justify professional mining, but could still yield a profit. Besides copper, there is also malachite, quartz and the grey shimmering molybdenite, also known as water lead.
Tip: The sign pointing the way to Copper Mine Point is easy to miss, so keep your eyes open after the turn-off at the LSL restaurant!
However, Copper Mine Point is not only worth seeing for geologists and visitors interested in history. The remote rocky coastline is the ideal place to enjoy solitude and gaze out over the foaming sea and airport on the rugged north coast. The silhouettes of the historic stone walls against the blue of the sky and ocean are also worth a photo or two.
From here you can also see why Christopher Columbus once called the island "fat virgin". From Copper Mine Point, Virgin Gorda really does look like a reclining woman expecting a child.