A piece of mining history revived – the original Rio Tinto mine back in production – by Lawrie Williams (lawrieongold.com – September 10, 2015)


While the following article is not specifically on precious metals, but on the revival of one of the world’s oldest known mines, it has in its time produced silver and gold – indeed the Romans mined it primarily for its silver content – and the orebody still contains both precious metals.

While silver is still a byproduct, albeit a small one, the gold content is probably too low to be profitably extracted. Nevertheless as a piece of mining history – and a potentially decently profitable copper mining operation – even at current copper prices, readers may find it an interesting article.

In what has to be a mining engineer’s dream, the old Rio Tinto copper mine in Spain – which in its heyday was the foundation stone for the mega mining company which still bears its name – is being brought back to life. Indeed it is well on the way to becoming a major producer again – and the economics in comparison with low grade copper porphyries which provide the bulk of global copper production, are impressive.

The Rio Tinto mine in southwestern Spain has one of the world’s longest known mining histories with copper having been mined there even before Roman times, but it was in the late 19th Century, and the development of the operation into what at the time was one of the world’s largest copper mines as its first operation by the UK’s Rio Tinto company which made it into a mining classic – and as the world know Rio Tinto subsequently went on to become one of the world’s biggest diversified mining companies.

But the resurrection of the old Rio Tinto mine has nothing to do with the company which now proudly bears that name. Rio Tinto ceased to mine there back in the 1950s and the mining was subsequently taken over by a number of successive Spanish enterprises and eventually ceased operations at a time of weak base metals prices in 2001.

It was since kept on a limited care and maintenance basis until being acquired by the current owner and operator, EMED Tartessus – a subsidiary of LSE AIM quoted (EMED) and TSX quoted (EMD) EMED Mining which recognised the potential and which for several years now has pursued permitting and conducted studies leading to the mine’s re-opening this year, although it is not scheduled to reach full commercial production until early next year.

For the rest of this article, click here: http://lawrieongold.com/2015/09/10/a-piece-of-mining-history-revived-the-original-rio-tinto-mine-back-in-production/