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Mining Historical Heritage

Date of Submission: 27/04/2007
Criteria: (i)(ii)(iv)
Category: Cultural
Submitted by:
Ministry of Culture
State, Province or Region:
Andalusia, Aragon, Asturias, Balearic Islands, Castile-la Mancha, Castile-Leon, Catalonia, Murcia, Basque Country
Ref.: 5139

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Property names are listed in the language in which they have been submitted by the State Party




1. Mining basins on the Tinto River (37" 41'N 1 6" 35' W) and the Tharsis River (37" 36' N l 7" 07' W) (HUELVA)

Minerals from the Tinto River, Tharsis and Zarza mines are mainly poly-metallic sulphurous masses composed of ferrous-copper pyrite with a high concentration of sulphur and trace amounts of gold and other metals.

These mining basins are formed by different archaeological, architectural, industrial and natural sites, all bearing witness to the different cultures and societies which have populated this land as from pre-historic times exploiting its mineral resources. The main interest here is the print these civilisations have left on the landscape, especially dating back to Roman times and to the British presence in the 19th century.

Shaft mining, gallery mining and strip mining are the techniques represented here. At Tinto River (hereafter referred to as Rio Tinto) we would draw attention to Corta Atalaya and annexed installations at Zarandas, Cerro Colorado and Cerro Salomon and at Tharsis-La Zarza, the breeding farms of Filon Norte, Sierra Bullones, "Canaleos" and la Corta de Los Silos. A number of mining and industrial installations are conserved such as pumping buildings, inclined plains, winch workshops, foundries and port-side docks. As a result of this intense mining activity, rich mining and railway heritage has been conserved comprised of sections of track, bridges, viaducts, tunnels, stations and a large number of steam locomotives, train cars for the transport of passengers and minerals and crane and workshop cars.

The best examples of residential building heritage are found at the Rio Tinto site in the areas of Bellavista (featuring unique buildings such as the Anglican Chapel, the Casa Consejo and the Protestant cemetery) and El Valle. Here we would draw attention to British style buildings such as the old English hospital (today the Mining Museum), the Casa Direccion (Administrative building) and the labour agency of the RTCL (Rio Tinto Company Ltd.) (today the Historical Archive of the Rio Tinto Foundation). At the Tharsis site the most important buildings are the General Manager's home, the Visitor's home and the neighbourhood of semi-detached homes and the administrative building at La Zarza.

2. The "Reunion" Historical mining complex at Villanueva del Rio y Minas (37" 39' N 1 5" 42' W) (SEVILLE)

The mining basin is comprised of a huge hypogenic mass running NW to SE. Its southern edge is in contact with a more recent formation which is the base of the coal deposit. In this basin, coal sediments are broken down into three groups: base gaps, production face and ceiling conglomerates.

Coal mining commenced in 1621 when King Phillip Ill issued a Royal Order calling for exploitation of the coal basin. The Royal Artillery Petty Officers of Seville worked the mines from 1740 to 1803 and initiated the industrialisation process which was taken up by the Guadalquivir Company until 1815. The Company known as Minas de la Reunion formed in 1839, merged in 1867 with the Madrid, Zaragoza y Alicante railway company (Spanish acronym M.Z.A.) and operated until 1969 when it was taken over by the State.

The mining systems employed were "tajos en direccibn por hundimientos" (without the use of backfill) and the so-called "huecos y pilares" system implemented by the Navegacion del Guadalquivir mining company.

As for the technological and industrial aspect, the mining complex conserves the print of the major technical advances of the end of the 191h century in terms of machinery, energy supply and extraction systems. Special mention should be made of the remains at shaft No 5 which include the metallic extraction crane powered by the Bollinclx (1922) steam engine, the engine house, sieves and washing tanks, a Babcok Wilcox boiler, Kaselowsky drainage pump house, Schlamms tanks (coal sludge decantation reservoirs) and the electical power plant (1926). Shaft No 7 features the water tower (1928), the crane andengine house (1926-28), energy distribution tower (1929), electrical power plant and workshop buildings. The bulk of these installations are housed in historicist-style buildings most of which are of brick although there are some elements of the modernist movement arising from international rationalism; iron architecture can also be found.

This is one of the most valuable sets of mining homes in all of Andalusia, an example of the developmentalist models in vogue in the 191h and beginning of the 20" centuries. The residential area is comprised of the following developments: Confianza, built between 1896 and 1900 to replace the primitive barracks; Velarde and Constancia, built during the last decade of the lgth century to house drill and pick operators; and Progreso, Cerro, Balbo and Transwall dating back to 1935. The development is topped off with the neighbourhood known as Casas Nuevas, the most interesting from an artistic point of view built in the 1920's as residences for company executives and skilled workers, special mention being made of the Administrative House, a square chalet with a merlon-shaped tower rising above the garden and the modernist Chief engineer's House. Other noteworthy buildings include the church, built in 1927, the school and the theatre-cinema.

3. Linares-La Carolina Mining District (38" 05' N 1 3" 37' W ) (JAEN)

The Linares-La Carolina mining district, located to the north of Jaen, covers an area extending from Despeiiaperros (in Sierra Morena) 40 Km. to the south with a width from East to West of 30 Km. The mineral mined is known as Galena argentifera made up of sulphur, lead and silver.

The Argaric culture from the eastern part of the Mediterranean coast systematically colonised a major part of the district 4,000 years ago in the Bronze Age. The Romans extended their dominion over the area and established a great many mining operations close to Linares (Arrayanes, La Cruz) and also in the Sierra Morena mountains. In modem times, the use of steam technology throughout the district developed in the region of Cornwall to extract ore and keep the mines dry was first introduced in 1849 with the installation at Pozo Ancho of the first Cornish steam engine pump. That marked the beginning of major mining developments making the district the world's main producer of lead by 1867.

The Linares-La Carolina mining district emerged on the 19th industrial mining scene as one of the principal international centres of reference. The mining revenues produced during such a long period of time have translated into a varied and high-quality legacy. The following are the most important examples found in this mining district: mining shafis, engine-houses, foundries, cranes, smokestacks, ore washing tanks, workshops, offices, railway lines, workers' quarters, machinery and dump sites. A great number of mining- industrial architectural elements are conserved including the Lord Derby and Pozo Ancho pumping houses, Lord Stanley, Lord Salisbury and Derwey cranes, and the La Tortilla (1875), La Cruz (1825-1986) and San Luis (1890-1919) foundries. The presence of English companies established here is evident from the similarity between these installations and those manufactured in Comwall (Great Britain).

The urban miners' homes in Linares, the Los Guindos and El Sinapimso neighbourhoods in La Carolina and the splendid ensemble of El Centenillo in Baiios de la Encina (football pitch, bachelors' homes, casino, church, miners' and foremen and engineers' homes) all bear witness to the development of mining in this district. The railway also left its indelible mark on the territory in terms of both track and stations. We would draw attention to the Madrid Station in Linares which was the most important of the five train stations operating in this district.

4. Alto Guadiato Mining District (38" 18' E 1 5" 16' W) Belmez, Espiel, Pefiarroya- Pueblonuevo) (CORDOBA).

The Belmez, Espiel, Pozoblanco and Peiiarroya-Pueblonuevo mining basin yields coal- rich carbonated deposits. The mining of copper pyrite and lead-rich galena also became very important.

There is documented evidence of prehistoric Copper Age mining activity in Cordoba but it was truly developed during the Roman times as shown by the advanced Arquimedes screw technology at the "Santa Barbara" lead mine in Posadas (Cordoba). The first documented industrial complex was built adjacent to Pueblonuevo del Terrible In the district of Pedroches and Guadiato in 1875 by the coal company Hullera Belmezana which at that time was working intensely and exporting its products by rail between Belmez and el Castillo de Almorchon once the rail connection between Belmez and Cordoba had been completed.

In 1881 in Paris a group of entrepreneurs created a company called Sociedad Minera y Metalurgica de Pefiarroya to support Hullera Belmezana. This company was destined to become one of the most dynamic of all of the foreign companies operating in Andalusia at the end of the lgth century; by 1914, the powerful Penarroya industrial complex had become one of Spain's most important industrial centres.

Underground and open-pit mining have left important heritage in the form of shafts and galleries as well as headframes, pump houses and ore washing tanks. Of the industrial buildings, special mention should be made of the Precious Metal Foundry of 1891, the Central Warehouse of 1910, the Nordon Warehouse, Coke Ovens and Power Plant of 1918, the railway station and a wide array of lesser installations such as pipelines, workshops, substations and smokestacks making the Peiiarroya Industrial Park one of the country's most important archaeological-industrial complexes. In 1927 the towns of Peiiarroya and Pueblonuevo were united forming the municipality as it is known today where French colonial influence is plain to see in the architecture and urban planning scheme. The same is true of the so-called Barrio Frances (French Quarter) where the homes of SMMP executives were located. The administrative headquarters of the SMMP was designed in 191 1. The Social Centre for SMMP executives, the market, hospital and French school are all examples of urban planning and architecture reminiscent of the French tradition. The mining railway system was very well developed along the Almorchon-Belmez (MZA), Cordoba-Belmez (Ferrocarriles Andaluces) and Pefiarroya- Puertollano lines.

5. Sierra Almagrera Mining District (37" 28' N I 1" 73' W) (ALMERIA)

Sierra Almagrera in southwest Spain is a small, four-kilometre wide mountain range running parallel to the coast for a distance of 12 kilometres with a maximum altitude of under 400 metres in the municipalities of Cuevas del Almanzora and Pulpi. It is known for its rich deposits of silver and lead.

These deposits have been mined since the Neolithic (3500 BC), the area in the vicinity of the Almanzora River successively hosting Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Byzantines and Muslims. Following a long barren period lasting several centuries, the chance finding of a vein of argentiferous lead at Barranco Jaroso in 1839 sparked the "Silver fever" which lasted until the end of the 19th century until a period of decline which ultimately led to the closure of most of the mining sites during the first decades of the 20th century.

Almeria mining today is characterised by small disjointed private mining undertakings. It is underground mining using deep shafts and large galleries which require constant and expensive drainage operations. Technical achievements were implemented here such as the replacement in 1824 of the "Castilian furnace" system by the more modern English furnaces (where the Perdigones Tower still stands), the installation of a steam engine for mining purposes (1827) at the Fundicion de Plomo de San Andresen Adra (lead foundry) and the drainage system installed at the Encarnacion shaft of the Sierra Almagrera mines. We would also draw attention to the archaeological remains at the Fundicion de Alcora (Alcora foundry in Canjayar) composed of the furnaces, the hermitage and warehouses; the battery of sulphur furnaces at the Dos Hemanas mine in Las Balsas (Gador) and the baking kilns and mines at Pilar de bravia. Special mention must also be made of the permanently installed steam engine for ore extraction at Barranco del Chaparral in Sierra Almagrera. It is the oldest remaining one in Spain (1873) forming part of an ensemble comprised of a main shaft, wooden extraction winch with two wheels and a metal structure containing a double acting steam engine from Reading Iron Works Limited installed by P. Colson, lngenieur Constructeurs Angleterre.

There are a great many mining town remains throughout all of south-east Almeria. Worthy of note are the towns of El Jaroso, El Arteal and the health services building for workers at Cuevas de Almanzora. Mining activity was supported by an extensive rail network the most important stretches of which were Herrerias-Villaricos and ~lmendricos-Aguilas and the associated loading stations of Villaricos and Agua Amarga. Although distant from Sierra Almagrera, also meriting mention is the Alquife ore loading station at Almeria which is one of the best examples of engineering architecture to be found in all of Europe.

6. Rodalquilar Mines (36" 85' N / 2" 03' W) (ALMERIA)

The volcanic basin of Rodalquilar where the epithermal gold deposit is found is a collapsed oval structure approximately 8 Km. long and 4 Km. wide which was produced some 11 million years ago.

Gold has been extracted from this site since Roman times (200 BC to 100 AD), activity intensifying at the end of the 19th century when, in 1870, the Stolberg & Westfalia company was set up in Aquisgran and acquired several of the Coto del Pinar mines in 1877. The company called Minas de Rodalquilar S.A. took over gold extraction activities in 1928 employing the cyaniding technique. Some mines (Las Niiias, Consulta, Triunfo, etc.) became rather well known during this period. However, the lead ore containing gold had to be transported to Antwerp (Holland) where the gold was finally separated. At the end of the Spanish Civil War, on 10 August 1941, the Spanish Government nationalised the Rodalquilar mines which were then put under the tutelage of the National Institute of Industry.

The process commenced with the extraction of the ore from the nearby quarries which was then ground and transformed into an aqueous pulp. It was then processed in thickening tanks where excess water was removed and was then pumped through a circuit of cyaniding tanks for the complexation of the gold and finally gold precipitation was induced by zinc.

Plans were drawn up in 1952 for the technical refurbishing of the mines and other complementary services were provided as well: church, company housing, housing for skilled workers, engineers and workers, schools and a pharmacy. In addition to these facilities, there are also warehouses, offices, residencies, the church and some of the houses.


7. Mares de S'Hostal Quarries (39" 59' N 1 3' 51' W) (MENORCA)

Mares is a mixture of fosillferous sands (calcarenite and eolianite) with a carbonated calcareous base. These marine sands consolidated during the quaternary are of varying hardness and of a white to golden ochre colour.

Quarries appear as excavated areas in the landscape where the stone has been extracted for use in all types of construction from the time of the earliest settlers in the Talayotic Period to the present.

The techniques and tools employed by stonemasons to extract stone from Ses Pedreres de s'Hostal have evolved down through history. Extraction is in the form of blocks which are subsequently broken into smaller pieces for different applications in construction. Traditional quarrying was by by the use of hand tools which left unique marks on the quarry wall. Mechanisation of the work resulted in a flat quarry face with deep cuts.

There are many types of quarries, most being open pit but there are also underground quarries featuring large rectangular columns. In terms of size, some are very small such as Cap de Cavalleria or massive such as those at Santa Pon~a and sVHostal.


8. Ojos Negros Mines (40' 73' N l l" 50' W) (TERUEL)

This open pit mine contains iron ore with limestone/dolomite from the ordovician age. Mineralization corresponds to iron oxyhydroxide which is most likely the insoluble residue of a washing process involving iron carbonates and magnesium deposits in a marine reef environment meaning that its origin is sedimentary.

These resources have been mined since Roman times, greatest production being reached in the industrial period when the Sierra Menera Mining Company was formed in 1903 by Basque entrepreneurs Eduardo Aznar and Ramon de Sota. These mines were located over an extension of 1400 hectares between the municipalities of Setiles and Ojos Negros.

These are underground mines (shafts and galleries), major cuts being made by the company. As for the facilities, we would mention the ore loading dock, the washing tanks, workshops, machinery garages, train cars and the extensive rail network completed in 1907 joining the Ojos Negros mines with the final destination of the ore at the Puerto Sagunto blast furnaces in Valencia; a total of 204 km. of track.

Today we find excellent testimony of miners' housing in the neighbourhoods known as Relojeria, Hospital, Centro, Casas de Manolo and Estacion. Buildings include a hospital, casino, grocery store, church, pool, and the administrative building of the Compahia Minera de Sierra Menera (SMN). Spain's most prestigious thematic art contest on mining heritage known as Arf, Industry and Territory, is held at Ojos Negros and bears witness to the heritage value of these mines and their interest as the subject of contemporary creation.


9. Valle del Nalon (43" 15' N l 5" 46' W) and Valle del Caudal (43" 18' N l 5" 41' W) (ASTURIAS)

The Nalon and Caudal basin mining areas are situated in the centre of Asturias. Production areas (mine shafts) are located in the lowlands of the two main rivers in the most topographically suitable area for the exploitation of the important coal deposits.

Asturias is one of the Spanish regions with the longest industrial tradition mostly thanks to the mining of its extensive soft coal deposits which, together with steel-making, marked the advent of the industrial revolution in this region. This mining model is the most prevalent (some mines still operating today) and has therefore accounted for the greatest proportion of heritage sites in Asturias.

Mining and steel-making facilities feature interesting examples of extraction typologies, headframes, washing tanks, transport infrastructures, refractory plants, workshops, warehouses and workers' residences which are all faithful examples of mining activity during the industrial revolution process.

In the municipal district of San Martin, several mining facilities of the Duro Felguera company in the vicinity of El Entrego (mines, workshops, warehouses, sawmill, washing tanks, coal yards and a thermal power station linked directly to the company), along with other coal mines belonging to different independent undertakings, all reflect the series of technological changes taking place during the 19th and 20th centuries and, considered jointly, are of high mining heritage value from an architectural point of view and also considering the value of the machinery which is still intact today.

The Soton mine shaft built by SMDF at the end of the 1920's and today part of the HUNOSA company's holdings, is an excellent example of this and is therefore the quintessential central valley mine which can be found in the municipalities of Castrillon, Llanera, Siero, Langreo, San Martin, Riosa, Mieres, Laviana, Quiros, Lena and Aller.

Workers' housing ranged from barracks to single family semi-detached and detached homes. We would draw attention to the Urquijo developments in La Felguera, El Jardin development in El Entrego and the superb example named Poblado de Bustiello belonging to Hullera Espaiiola. This intense mining activity called for infrastructure and we can find interesting examples of schools, hospitals, churches and grocery stores, all forming part of a paternalistic industrial system.


10. Almaden-Puertollano Mines (38' 46' N 14" 49' W) (CIUDAD REAL)

The Almaden-Puertollano area is located in the southwest of Castile-La Mancha which traditionally been known for its mineral wealth (lead, silver, zinc, mercury, coal and bituminous shale) and its industrial activity linked to mineral processing. The Almaden deposit was formed approximately 430 million years ago when the quartzites today forming its base, were being deposited under the sea on a shallow continental platform.

The Almaden mines contain the world's largest mercury deposits and account for one third of all of the mercury consumed throughout the world down through the centuries. Intensive mining activity here did not likely begin until around 200 BC when the Romans consolidated their dominion over the region. Mining continued throughout the Middle Age but it was in the 16th century when the Almaden Mines became extremely important because mercury became an essential element in silver metallurgy thanks to the recently invented amalgamation technique which was key to the extraction of the rich silver deposits discovered in America.

The Almaden mining complex is comprised of a number of different areas: The underground mine formed by the Forzados galleries, the Baritel de San Andres, the two mine shafts, mining enclosures and metallurgy furnaces from different periods.

Today, very valuable mining-industrial heritage derives from these activities comprised mostly of headframes (metal and masonry) used for ore extraction, the remains of machinery (furnaces) and industrial buildings (machine rooms). We would especially highlight the Aludeles and Bustamante furnaces (1633-1646), the neo-classical Mining Academy (1782), the Door of Charles IV at Cerco Buitrones (1795) and the San Rafael Mining Hospital (1752).

11. Salinas de lman (41 ' 4' N 1 2' 45' W) (GUADALAJARA)

The inland salt mines located between Siguenza and Atienza (Guadalajara), are found in an area where there is a high concentration of old salt mines such as Imon, La Olmeda de Jadraque, Bujalcayado and Santamera, formed by the evaporation of lagoons 200 million years ago.

The first documented references date back to the 10th century when, in the year 1139, Alfonso VI donated to the bishop of Siguenza the lm6n salt mines which, along with those of Bujalcayao, Carabias, La Olmeda and Gormellon, form part of a group of salt mines which was one of the most important in Spain at the end of the 19th century until the Torrevieja salt mines in Alicante went itno operation.

The salt mine complex includes a group of warehouses in the central area and the typical distribution by extraction sites, each with its own name, water wheel, evaporation tanks and reservoir. The buildings are from the end of the 18th century and were reformed and adapted during the course of last century.

Today we have water wheels (Mayor, Rinc6n and Masajos) and the San Jose and San Antonio warehouses. Special mention should be made of the quality of the construction leaving a landscape where the evaporation tanks, roads, reservoirs and drainage devices especially stand out.


12. Valle del Sabero Mining Basin (42" 48' N 15" 8' W) and Villablino (42" 56' N 16" 19' W) (LEON)

These mining basins contain important deposits of iron ore and bituminous and anthracite coal as well as paleontological wealth from the Devonic period (trilobites, blastoids, crinoids and brachipods).

These districts in the north of Castile-Leon have been linked to mining activities since the High Middle Ages; first for iron ore and over the last 150 years for coal to power the industrial revolution. Production especially heightened after the construction of the Robla- Balmaseda rail line.

The Sabero basin was the first coal basin to be mined in the area and one of the first in Spain (first third of the 19th century). Coal mining in Leon was delayed until the 1890's when the first companies commenced operation following the construction of the La Robla rail connection. Of the companies formed in the 1890's' two stood out in terms of production and longevity: Hulleras de Sabero and associates and Hullera Vasco Leonesa which is still in operation today.

The most outstanding mining-industrial construction of Sabero Valley are Plaza Cerrada, an old sheet-metal rolling dock and the Ferreria de San Blas (1848 to 1862) which was the first steel-making plant in the province of Leon and the first in Spain to have its own coke blast furnace. Also worthy of mention are the headframes, characteristic elements of coal mines, at mine shaft No 1 (1912) whose engine house remains intact, and mine shaft No 2 (1952). Very close to mine shaft No 1 we find Socav6n de la Herrera mine which is of particular interest.

Villablino basin, nestled in the Laciana Valley, features important mining heritage fruit of MSP activity (Minero Siderirrgica de Ponferrada - Ponferrada mining and steel).

As was the case in the basins of Leon, mines did not become important until the means to bring the minerals to market were developed. Around the year 1890 plans were drawn up for a rail line to join Sabero with the El Burgo Ranero station on the Palencia-Leon line but the real motivation behind rail construction was the prospect of getting the coal to Vizcaya.

In Sabero valley we find typical mining-village homes - the so-called barracks - which are buildings of two or three storeys, each one with several apartments whose access is by means of a main corridor. Sabero valley has several examples of these barracks such as those of Rebedul built at the earliest times of mining in the valley. Of special interest is the administrative building or Casona, located in Sabero square which always served as headquarters of Hulleras de Sabero and associates.


13. Neolithic Mines of Can Tintorer en Gava (41" 18' N /l0 59' W) (BARCELONA)

Here, the green coloured variscite or calaite was mined for making jewellery. Today these are considered one of the main archaeological sites of the Mediterranean Neolithic.

The prehistoric mines of Gava (Can Tintorer) are found in Barcelona, a mining site first tapped during the early post-cardial Neolithic and which reached its apex during the Middle Neolithic in the Catalan Culture of Sepulcros de Fosa.

The essentially layered nature of the mineral deposits and their sub-vertical positioning have conditioned mining techniques. Hence, these are underground mines with mine shafts drilled through a recently formed crust which frequently conceals the Palaeozoic strata containing the minerals; rooms carved out at the location of the mineral strata and galleries formed by perpendicular cuts through those layers. Extraction was through the rooms while the galleries were only used for transfer purposes because the veins accessible through these were insignificant.

The Gava mines are particularly interesting because they shed light on how these minerals were obtained for trading purposes and the nature of this trade, one of the most important subjects of Neolithic studies. This trade must have involved materials such as obsidian, jadeite, and some types of silex, and therefore gives us an idea of Neolithic miners' knowledge of geology and how this knowledge was applied to mining undertakings. These mines enable us to document the extraction of variscite, a mineral used to make the necklaces commonly found inside Neolithic tombs along the Mediterranean and Atlantic coastlines of France and Spain.

14. Bellmunt del Priorat Mines (41" 15' N 10" 77' W) (TARRAGONA)

The Bellmunt mines are located in Priorat where Catalonia's richest galena deposits can be found. This dark grey mineral belongs to the sulfide class, it has a metallic shine to it, low hardness (2.5) and its density is relatively high 7.5 glcm3. It crystallises in the cubic system and has three well defined exfoliation plains; it is the principal component of lead.

These mines were already being tapped during Roman times but reached their peak of production during the 20th century coinciding with the industrialisation period. The Priorat district was one of Catalonia's most important mining centres and the first to extract galena, the ore from which lead is obtained. The mining basin is found between the municipalities of Bellmunt and El Molar and includes approximately 20 mines.

During the 20th century, the mine concession company named Minas del Priorato S.A., built a housing development for workers who came with their families from other mining districts (mostly from Andalusia) constituting an important mining centre following the industrial colonial model which had already taken root in Catalonia.

The Eugenia mine was one of the most important mining site of the Priorat basin with a total of 20 underground plants reaching a depth of 620 metros and 14 Km. of galleries. It features an extraction headframe, engine room, washing tanks, foundry, smokestacks and workshops. The Casa de las Minas, a majestic building dating to 1905 was intended as executive living quarters and company offices and laboratory. As the mining undertaking prospered, more workers came into the district calling for the building of new mining colonies, considerably enlarging the size of the Bellmunt municipality. These new groups of houses were built during different periods up to the 1960's.


15. Cartagena (37" 36' N 10" 59' W) and La Union Mining Basins (37" 37' N 10" 52' W) (M U RC IA)

The Sierra de Cartagena-La Union is one of Spain's most important mining districts and the most emblematic of the Region of Murcia owing to its sought-after Fe-Pb-Zn deposits. We would note that the ore from this mining district from the famous "silicate layer" or "blue layer" containing Greenalite is a unique example worldwide.

Moreover, practically 3,000 years of mining activity have left a great many archaeological finds. The most important archaeological/industrial remains are from the period of greatest production, i.e. the last third of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. Today over 96 mining items have been found including: headframes (wooden, metallic and stone), smokestacks (installed in engine rooms for pumping equipment and foundries) and furnaces (baking kilns and forced air).

The Mina de las Matildes is located in the heart of the mountain mining district and includes the municipalities of Cartagena and La Union. Together with Mina Blanca and others in the vicinity, the Matildes mines form part of the Beal mine complex dedicated to the extraction of lead ore at the end of the 19th century. The headframe, built at the workshops of the Maquinista de Levante in La Union, was metallic as of 1900. At that time it was unique in that it was equipped with three pulleys - two to raise and lower the platforms and a third to raise and lower the sump pump for maintenance purposes. The San Quintin lead mine dates back to 1864. Here we would draw attention to the structure to house the Cornish pumps built with thick stone block walls featuring semi-circular, arch- shaped windows. The steam engine was installed in that structure. The metallic, modernist-style headframe dates to the beginning of the 20th century. The engine room was built during this same period to house the electrical machinery used for water extraction. The last element to be highlighted is the huge, square tank used to collect the water extracted which was subsequently used to irrigate local plantations.

The Roberto washing area was comprised of four large sections each of which had a specific function. Having passed through the crushing machine, the ore was conveyor- belted to the washing area were it was deposited into a grinding mill. The ground material was then taken to a classification area which returned any ungrounded material to the mill. This process took place in the first section.


16. Aiiana salt mines (42" 48' N 12" 59' W) (ALAVA)

The geological salt dome formation at the Aiiana salt mine is oval-shaped measuring 5.5 Km. east-west and approximately 3 Km. north-south, covering a total surface area of just over 10 ~m*.

These mines were initially exploited by small independent owners grouped into different consilios. However, the gradual appearance of large operations constantly growing thanks to donations and royalties, led to the establishment of a major undertaking run mostly by the monasteries. The system was modified at the beginning of the 20" century with the introduction of new property ownership systems and the evolution of extraction conditions.

The so-called "Salt Valley" has adjusted over time to the different needs of each period, increasing or reducing the number of outdoor solar evaporation sites in operation depending on production demand at the time. The Valley's production network was comprised of springs, roads, canals, wells, solar evaporation sites and warehouses, all of which have evolved over time towards greater surface area, salt production and solar evaporation surface. Salt was produced by channelling spring water and water from the Muera River through a network of wooden aqueducts to an area of horizontal platforms made of wood and stone (owing to the slope of the terrain) called "farms" where the water was distributed into rectangular plots or solar evaporation sites. Once the water has evaporated, salt is harvested and stored in bins protected from the rain.

17. Las Encartaciones iron ore mines (43' 31' N 1 3" 04' W) (Ortuella) (VIZCAYA)

The Encartaciones mining district is comprised of the municipalities of Abanto, Ciervana, Ortuella, Muskiz, Giieiies, Galdames, Sopuerta and Barakaldo. The area's mining heritage bears witness to the industrial importance of iron-ore mining in Vizcaya which transformed the natural, social and economic landscape of the Basque Country.

Iron-ore mining has characterised the Basque Country down through the ages. At the beginning of the 14th century, iron-ore mines led to a period of demographic and economic growth lasting until the end of the 16'~ century. The region received another economic boost in the 18th century thanks, in part, to the development of the steel industry. In the middle of the 19th century the first blast furnaces were installed, marking the beginning of renewed iron exports to the United Kingdom. The intense industrialisation of the Basque Country gave rise to steel production which used the iron from its Vizcaya and Guiplizcoa mines, also sparking an important machinery and tool industry.

Heritage found at the Encartaciones mining area includes the ore baking kilns, rail and elevated ore transport lines using a bucket system, inclined planes and loading docks on the shores of the Cantabrian sea and the Ne~i6n Estuary. Attention should likewise be drawn to housing built for miners, office buildings, miners' hospitals and especially the mines themselves which, on the surface and in the galleries, mark the entire geography of the Mining Zone constituting a totally unique landscape.

Special mention should be made of the mining areas of Abanto-Zierbena, home to quintessential mining towns and neighbourhoods such as Gallarta, Putxeta, Triano, La Balastera and Las Calizas. Trapagaran is home to the jewel of all mining towns, La Arboleda, founded in 1877 to house miners coming from all corners of the Iberian Peninsula. The town's grid organisation with parallel and perpendicular streets extending outwards from the main church (La Magdalena, 1896), features wooden houses and a stunning landscape dotted by lakes created at the site of the old mines which surrounded the town. Also worthy of mention is the old miners' hospital likewise dating back to the 1890's, adjacent to the mining neighbourhoods of La Reineta, Barrionuevo and Burzako. This latter neighbourhood features the homes built on the premises of the old stables of the Orconera mining company.

Statements of authenticity and/or integrity


The mining ensembles and systems selected have a sufficient degree of authenticity in terms of their forms, materials and building techniques without significant overlapping or alteration. Their testimonial values of uniqueness and typological representativeness remain unaltered.

Their integrity and current state of conservation are assured by the protection afforded them by the cultural administrations of each Autonomous Community based on their relevance as historic-social, technological, artistic-architectural and territorial values calling for the upkeep of their essential qualities leading to a proper understanding of their past function as concerns mining technology, architecture and lifestyles associated with these peculiar manifestations of human genius applied to the extraction and processing of minerals.

Comparison with other similar properties


The selected mining-metallurgic systems and ensembles are, of themselves, a clear exponent of the evolutionary process of mining in Spain. Their comparison with similar representative examples around the world of the mining of coal, iron-ore and non-ferrous metals, salt and calcites only makes these even more interesting as elements complementary to protected mining areas in other countries and different geo-cultural areas. The cases selected comprise a unique testimony of mining activity in Spain which can be compared with acknowledged examples around the world: Iron Bridge George Museum Trust in Sandal (United Kingdom), Centre Historique Minier de Lewarde in Douai (France), Bergbau und Stad Museum in Weilburg (Germany), Musee du Fer et du Charbon in Lieja (Belgium), Museo Minerario in Abadia-San Salvatore (Italy), the Sorachi Coal-mining Landscape in Hokkaido (Japan), Sitio Minero de Villa Cacique-Barker (Argentina), Salitreras de Humberstone y Santa Laura (Chile) and the Huancavelica mines (Peru).