If there’s a town in New Caledonia that deserves to have a museum dedicated to its mining industry, it is certainly Thio. The municipality is a worldwide historical cradle of nickel mining, and mining has been an industry uninterruptedly in the town since 1874!
Located on the east coast of New Caledonia, Thio's history is intertwined with that of nickel. Dubbed in the early 20th century "Nickel town" by the newspaper La France Australe, the town is considered the cradle of Caledonian nickel. Mining began in the village around 1875 and has not stopped since.
The ‘green gold’ historyVoir plus
Discover the new Mining Museum
Inaugurated in 1993, the Museum of Mining of Thio is housed in an ancient colonial-style house having previously belonged to the company SLN (Société Le Nickel), where its local director lived. In 2010, because of major deteriorations in the building, the museum was temporarily transferred to other premises. But, in 2015, the historic museum returned to its first home – which is just as historic!
Follow the tracks of pioneers
Nothing is easier than finding the museum in the village. There is an old steam locomotive at the entrance. In the four halls of the permanent exhibition, you can see photos of the municipality as it was at the beginning of the twentieth century; there is also a collection of old tools and a mineral collection. From a general viewpoint, the exhibition is organized around three main subjects: the birth of the village, the professions in mining, and the era of mechanization. The most passionately-interested visitors can buy a piece of mineral, and so take home a little green gold with them!
Vestige of the mine
When you leave the museum, don’t forget to raise your eyes. Above the building, you can see the pylons of the old overhead lift, which was in use from 1951 to 1974, which carried mineral over nearly 4 kilometers, from the Le Plateau mine to the mineral port. The Le Plateau mine is something absolutely not to be missed after you’ve visited the museum of nickel mining in Thio!