Near Lanzada in the Italian Alps, Bagnada mine extracted the rock soapstone, which is principally composed of talc (hydrated magnesium silicate). As the white stone is easily carved and heat-resistant it is used in sculpture and making heat-proof surfaces and vessels. It is easily ground into ‘talcum powder’, which has been used since 1894 to absorb moisture and has industrial uses, for example in paper, ceramics, paints and pharmaceuticals.
The mine was opened by the Società Mineraria Valtellinese in 1936 and continued until 1987, when it was worked out. Transport down the mountain was by aerial ropeway. Mining was by hand until compressed-air drills and mechanical excavators were introduced. The mine has nine levels, four of which are visited on guided tours. Equipment such as drills, excavators, rail trucks and acetylene lights are shown. There is also a lathe for carving soapstone into vessels. A museum contains panels with information and photographs and examples of the tools used.