BG1 - Gold, copper mining and geoarcheology in Central Bulgaria

Leaders: Veselin Kovachev (Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski", vvk@gea.uni-sofia.bg), Strashimir Strashimirov (University of Mining and Geology, Sofia), Kalin Dimitrov (Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski")

Practical information:

  • Duration: 4 days (+travel (flight) to Sofia on late evening 27.08.2010)
  • Post-conference: 28.08.2010 Sofia (BG) - 31.08.2010 Sofia (BG)
  • Length: 700 km (excluding flight)
  • Min. number of participants: 3
  • Max. number of participants:20
  • Field trip registration fee
    • Student/young scientist: EUR 70
    • Normal: EUR 150
  • Accommodation and meals cost: EUR 150
  • Demands: No special physical or other demands. Normal field trip equipment is recommended.
  • Means of transport: bus / van
  • Accommodation: Double room
    (for single possibilities contact Robert Hohol)
Full technical details in PDF format
Detailed itinerary in PDF format
Photo: Chelopech, landscape with a shaft (BG)
Chelopech, landscape with a shaft (BG) Photo: Chelopech Mining.


Scientific focus (keywords): high-sulphidation epithermal gold-copper deposits; porphyry copper and molybdenum deposits; ore mineralogy; early copper metallurgy; early gold metallurgy; mineralogical exhibitions; ancient building stones; Thracian culture; ancient monuments; traditional architecture of Bulgaria; viticulture / viniculture

Photo: Bioleaching operation at Asarel (BG)
The trip visits the central part of Bulgaria in the Balkan Peninsula and provides the participants with the possibility to have an insight into the geology, mineralogy and ore deposits of the area, to get acquainted with the geoarcheological results concerning early metallurgy, to enjoy the beautiful landscape and to test the results of the surviving Thracian tradition of wine-production. The main objectives of the field trip will be to visit the epithermal high sulphidation gold-copper mine at Chelopech, the Asarel and Medet porphyry copper open pit mines (in remediation), and to get information about early copper and gold metallurgy and building stone use in antiquity and its natural sources. The geological setting of the Panagyurishte region is dominated by Upper Cretaceous magmatism. The hydrothermal ore deposits host several interesting minerals, including Cu-As sulphosalts, gold, Bi sulphosalts, Ge and Se minerals. Chelopech is the type locality of kostovite, hemusite, and co-type locality of germanocolusite and stibiocolusite. The gold and copper deposits of this region are among the sources of the ancient gold and copper articles. The Thracian tomb at Starosel (4th-3rd c. BC) and the ancient town of Philippopolis (4th c. BC-6th c. AD) were built from local building stones (granite, marble and marble breccias), their outcrops will also be visited. The geological information will be combined with wine tasting in Starosel and in the Koprivshtitsa architectural reserve (18th-19th c.). The field trip will start and finish in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria.
Bioleaching operation at Asarel (BG)


Daily programme:

Day 0 (27 Aug) late evening: [Flight from Budapest to Sofia; not included] Sofia: accommodation (included)

Day 1 (28 Aug): sights of Sofia; giant crystals exhibition in the "Earth and Man" National Mineralogical Museum; welcome cocktail; Sofia: accommodation.

Day 2 (29 Aug): Sofia - Chelopech: visit to the gold-copper mine (epithermal high sulphidation type deposit). From the wealth of sulphide minerals Cu, As sulphosalts, gold, Bi sulphosalts, Ge and Se minerals etc. are the most interesting, and Chelopech is type locality of kostovite (1966), hemusite (1971), co-type locality of germanocolusite and stibiocolusite (1992). Discussion of the problems of early copper and gold metallurgy in the world. - Koprivshtitsa (18th-19th century architectural reserve): accommodation.

Day 3 (30 Aug): Koprivshtitsa - Asarel: porphyry copper open pit mine and Medet: porphyry copper and molybdenum open pit (in remediation): Interesting minerals: exogenic copper minerals, chalcocite, molybdenite - Starosel: visit to the "Chetinyova mogila" Thracian tomb (4th-3rd c. BC) and to the ancient stone sources (granite, zeolitised tuffs); accommodation in the nearby Hotel Starosel, wine tasting in the wine-cellar and dinner.

Day 4 (31 Aug): StaroselHissar: granitic quarry -  Plovdiv: visit to the ancient town of Philippopolis (4th c. BC-6th c. AD, included in the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites), predecessor of modern Plovdiv: main street, stadium, antique theatre, fortification - Mostovo: quarry, ancient stone source (marble breccia) - Asenovgrad: quarry, ancient stone source (marble) - Sofia: accommodation (included)

On-line registration >>

Photo: Colloform pyrite and tennantite. Photo Chelopech Mining.
Colloform pyrite and tennantite, Chelopech (BG). Photo: Chelopech Mining.


Map of the field trip with the key locations (or download Kml file for Google Earth):


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