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Balarés beach

  • Balarés beach
  • Balarés beach
  • Balarés beach
  • Balarés beach
  • Balarés beach
  • Spider-shaped sculpture on beach Balarés

Strategic old port and titanium mine right next to the sea

Located in a sheltered area of the Corme y Laxe estuary, Balarés beach boasts a fantastic location near Mount Branco. Shaped like a cove, its has fine white sand, relatively gentle waves and a pine tree-filled picnic area with tables and grills where you can spend an enjoyable summer's day. Sun and shade for the summer. It has all required services, including toilets and access ramps adapted for people with disabilities.

For some years now, a music festival that is quite popular with the younger set has been held here each summer.

Balarés beach

Here, in this leisure-orientated spot in the shadow of Mount Branco – and on the same spot as the pine forest – was located the Titania mine (owned by the Caolines de Laxe company) from 1935 to 1964. Discovered by local geologist and great-nephew of the poet Eduardo Pondal, Isidro Parga Pondal, it was operated by the Fernández López brothers, the driving force behind the Pescanova and Zeltia companies.

Here, women and men from Ponteceso mined titanium, which was then loaded on to boats at the dock at the other end of the beach, along with tungsten from the Mount Neme mine, located in the neighbouring town of Carballo.

Riqueza inesperada para a contorna

Balarés beach, the Titania mine was on the same spot as the pine forest

It is not clear what the titanium was used for. There is speculation that it was used in the pharmaceutical industry or even for making the strike strip of matchboxes. What was most commonly said was that this material was intended for shielding tanks and reinforcing missiles during the Second World War. What is true is that the titanium left Balarés by boat destined to Unquinosa, a Bilbao-based company run by Germans. In addition to bringing about the incorporation of women into the workforce, Titania also offered good working conditions including bonuses, a discount market and its own healthcare services.

The history of Titania was short-lived. Younger employees were attracted by the prosperity of other countries. The emigration of the 1960s caused the mine to lose workers and this, coupled with the weak titanium market, caused it to close..

A few years ago, the Provincial Council restored the mine's walls and landing for use in providing services to the beach. Exploring a bit, you can see the remains of the pools where rutile – titanium oxide – was separated from the sand from the beach. An interesting fact is that, in 2000 and 2001 the café building (designed by the architects Carlos Quintáns, Antonio Raya and Christopher Crespo) received a mention in the section of operations in public spaces in the biannual and Julio Galán Carvajal, both promoted by the Colegio Oficial de Arquitectos de Galicia (Association of Architects of Galicia) (COAG).


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