|Eastern Mojave Vegetation||Rio Tinto, (Huelva), Andalucia, Spain.|
Possibly the oldest mine in the world, Rio Tinto has a particularly rich history. Its mineral wealth was already legendary in ancient times. According to myth, these are the fabled mines of King Solomon, and a section of the area is still known as Cerro Salomón today. The nearby villages of Zalamea la Vieja (now called Nerva) and Zalamea la Real are also named after the biblical king. It was tales of the Iberian Peninsula's mineral wealth that drew Phoenician merchants to its shores, laying the foundations for a succession of Greek, Carthaginian and Roman invasions. The Rio Tinto mines they worked so intensively were among the most prized rewards that control of Iberia yielded.
The region was abandoned after the Roman era, possibly because of Roman failure to recognize gold in the gossan capping the mine. Rediscovered in 1556, the mine was not reopened until 1724. Even then frustration and inefficiency dogged their exploitation. The Spanish government sold the mines to a British syndicate in 1871 for a sum well below their real value. In true Anglo-Saxon style, the company's British managers soon had the mines running at full steam, making this one of the most important sources of copper and sulphur in the world.
The mines are closed now, but the Rio Tinto corporation continues in many areas of the world. Among their properties is the former US Borax mine at Boron.
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Date and time this article was prepared:5:59:58 PM, 12/12/2017.