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Mine reopened

The mine in Rio Tinto in Huelva was closed down 14 years ago, but now the mining starts again. 250 people will be directly employed in the mine and indirectly three times as many people will get a job related to the mining.


The mine in Rio Tinto. Photo: Santi Martin.

The company Emed Tartessus, a subsidiary of Emed Mining, is leading the project to reopen the Rio Tinto mine in Minas de Rio Tinto (Huelva) in Andalusia. The mine was closed in 2001 and the first blast took place on 17 April. The initial charge of 6,500 kilograms of explosives which are expected to release 28,000 tons of ore.

This is the last phase of the work to start copper production later this year. Existing facilities for processing of the copper has been renovated and in the first phase they should process five million tonnes of ore annually. The first phase of the project involves an investment of 212 million euros. In the second phase, the capacity of ore processing is increased to between 9 and 15 million tonnes. The mining area covers a total of approximately 2000 acres.

The river Rio Tinto runs in Sierra Morena in Andalusia and flows in a southwesterly direction towards Huelva. There has been mining along the river since about 3000 years B.C. and the ore contains copper, silver and gold, as well as a variety of other minerals. The mines were abandoned for a period and was rediscovered in 1556 and the Spanish government began mining there in 1724. In 1873 a multi-national (England – Australia) company “Rio Tinto Company” was formed, which drove mining until the end of 1900s, but is now owned mining EMED mining plc.

As a result of the mining operations the stream has been very acidic (pH 2), and the deep red color is due to the iron particles in the water. The river water is beautifully red colored but is also an environmental problem, because it not only contains iron, but also a number of heavy metals. The area of the old mining town is now a popular tourist destination, with the opportunity to ride the train on mining railway along the river.


The red Rio Tinto. Photo Ignacio Benvenuty Cabral, Banco de Imagenes geologic.

As an interesting fact, it was the English miners who introduced football to Spain. For those wanting to know more and maybe do a visit this web site recommended “Parque Minero de Riotinto”:


The old railway. Photo: Parque Minero de Riotinto.