Archive | Global Mining History

[History of Silver Mining] The Manila Galleon Trade: Events, effects, lessons – by Ma. Isabel Ongpin (Manila Times – March 3, 2017)

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THE Manila Galleon Trade lasted for 250 years and ended in 1815 with Mexico’s war of independence. In terms of longevity alone, plus the trade that it engendered between Asia, Spanish America and onward to Europe and Africa, it brought in its wake events and movement of people among the various continents that are still apparent and in place today.

It made Mexico a world city. The Philippines, ostensibly a Spanish colony, was governed from Mexico which gave it an Asian extension. Population flows between Asia and Spanish America via Acapulco were, in terms of the times, huge.

About 40,000 to 60,000, maybe 100,000, mostly Chinese and in particular Filipinos, made up that flow. There is an existing Filipino presence in Louisiana and definitely in Mexico from those times. Some of the founders of California seem to be of Filipino descent. Emiliano Zapata, the Mexican revolutionary, was said to have Filipino ancestry. Continue Reading →

How silver changed the world – by Adolfo Arranz and Marco Hernandez (South China Morning Post – May 27, 2018)

https://multimedia.scmp.com/

The main objective behind the sea route plied by Spanish galleons was to establish trade with China. These European vessels became known as China Ships. They transported silver from the Americas to exchange for goods in Asia, mostly commodities of Chinese origin

It can be argued that when Spain instituted a common currency in the form of the Real de a Ocho, also known as Pieces of Eight, or the Spanish dollar, globalisation’s first chapter had been written. The acceptance of the dollar coins for commercial transactions throughout Asia, the Americas and much of Europe, resulted in a cultural exchange between nations, as well as the relatively free movement of people and goods between the three continents.

China had an appetite for silver …

When the Spanish tried to establish commercial ties with China they found little taste for goods from the outside world. However, it transpired the Chinese had a voracious appetite for silver. In fact, during the latter part of the 16th century, during the Ming Dynasty, Beijing ruled taxes should be paid in silver, and without domestic recourse to the precious metal, the demand for imported silver soared. Continue Reading →

[Scotland] Looking back at the mining history of the Lothians and legacy of pit closures – by Alasdair Clark (Edinburgh Live – February 21, 2021)

https://www.edinburghlive.co.uk/

A new book is shining fresh light on Lothians mining history, examining the impact of pit closures on local communities like those in Midlothian.

Written by Dr Ewan Gibbs, a historian from Glasgow, the book focusses on central Scotland and the communities that “owe their existence” to the rapid expansion of coal mining in Scotland.

It promises to examine the impact of the closure of Scotland’s coal mines, and the subsequent deindustrialization of communities which were once centred around coal mining. Continue Reading →

[Slovakia Mining History] Liptov’s gold rush: Magurka – by Gabriela Psotková and Valéria Polovková (Slovak Spectator – January 4, 2021)

https://spectator.sme.sk/

On August 16, 1896, an American prospector named George Carmack and his Tagish wife Kate Carmack were travelling south of the Klondike River. Following a suggestion from Robert Henderson, a Canadian prospector, they began looking for gold on Bonanza Creek, then called Rabbit Creek, one of the Klondike’s tributaries.

And boy did they discover gold, which was present along the river in huge quantities. By the end of August, all of Bonanza Creek had been claimed by miners from all world.

In Slovakia, gold was already been mined by the Celts. The first mining towns of central Slovakia were established in the 13th century by the Germans. Continue Reading →

Along Russia’s ‘Road of Bones,’ Relics of Suffering and Despair – by Matilda Coleman (UpNewsInfo.com – November 22, 2020)

https://upnewsinfo.com/

The Kolyma Highway in the Russian Far East once delivered tens of thousands of prisoners to the work camps of Stalin’s gulag. The ruins of that cruel era are still visible today.

The prisoners, hacking their way through insect-infested summer swamps and winter ice fields, brought the road, and the road then brought yet more prisoners, delivering a torrent of slave labor to the gold mines and prison camps of Kolyma, the most frigid and deadly outpost of Stalin’s gulag.

Their path became known as the “road of bones,” a track of gravel, mud and, for much of the year, ice that stretches 1,260 miles west from the Russian port city of Magadan on the Pacific Ocean inland to Yakutsk, the capital of the Yakutia region in eastern Siberia. Continue Reading →

How miners from Camborne and Redruth started a Central American football revolution in Mexico – by Aaron Greenaway (Cornwall Live – October 25, 2020)

https://www.cornwalllive.com/

When mention is made of “famous Cornish exports”, it is safe to say that the first things that spring to mind are things we find on our plate – delicacies such as the iconic Cornish pasty, clotted cream, scones made correctly (jam first), Davidstow cheddar and the mighty saffron cake.

It is also true we exported Prime Ministers to Australia, with two Australian Prime Ministers being of Cornish descent – Sir Robert Menzies, the country’s longest-serving PM, was part-Cornish through his maternal grandparents and Bob Hawke, PM between 1983-1991, had links to Kernow as well.

On top of this, at least six Premiers of South Australia were also of Cornish descent. One other thing synonymous with Cornwall is of course mining, with the county being world-renowned for its work during the 1800s and early 1900s – although, you wouldn’t know it now, with the old buildings left behind the only relics of a once-proud past. Continue Reading →

Operation Chinchilla Is a Go – by Ed Stoddard and Undark (The Atlantic – October 18, 2020)

https://www.theatlantic.com/

Twenty-five of the endangered rodents are living on top of a multibillion-dollar Chilean gold reserve. Miners are going to great lengths to relocate them.

The short-tailed chinchilla, a high-altitude South American rodent, was hunted almost to extinction in the 19th and 20th centuries for its highly prized fur. It’s now endangered, and one small colony of the species in Chile is worth far more alive than dead, skinned, and dried.

The colony in question sits atop 3.5 million ounces of extractable gold, a resource set to be developed by Gold Fields, a South Africa–based mining company. Continue Reading →

U.K. Exhibition showcasing work of Black miners is unveiled – by David Sedgwick (New Post Leader – October 7, 2020)

https://www.newspostleader.co.uk/

Digging Deep, Coal Miners of African Caribbean Heritage presents recently unearthed stories and memories of former coal miners of Black and African-Caribbean heritage within UK mining history.

The exhibition at Woodhorn Museum, in Ashington, is part of Black History Month, which runs until October 31.

It forms part of the Black Miners Museum Project – led by Nottingham News Centre CIC – which aims to grow lasting partnerships with mining museums across the UK by celebrating and remembering coal miners of Black and African-Caribbean heritage. Continue Reading →

How the US government seized all citizens’ gold in 1930s – by Chris Colvin and Philip Fliers (The Conversation – May 21, 2020)

https://theconversation.com/

Chris Colvin is a Senior Lecturer in Economics, Queen’s University Belfast and Philip Fliers is a Lecturer in Finance, Queen’s University Belfast.

With global financial markets in disarray, many investors are turning to classic safe havens. Gold is trading above US$1,750 (£1,429) per troy ounce, which is the standard measure – more than 15% above where it started 2020.

Even after a strong rally since March, the S&P 500 stock market index is down nearly 10% over the same period.

Gold confers familiarity during downturns. Its returns are uncorrelated with assets like stocks, so it tends to hold its value when they fall. It is also a good way of avoiding currency devaluation. Continue Reading →

Review: Worn by Tools and Time is a beautifully produced history of metal mining in Wales – by Jon Gower (Nation Cymru – August 22, 2020)

https://nation.cymru/

The time frame of the metal-mining endeavours chronicled in this beautifully-produced book reach way, way back into prehistory. Around 2000 BC the copper mine at Ross Island in Ireland ran out of metal which provoked a widespread hunt for new sources.

As a consequence therefore, in the Early Bronze Age, some of the earliest metal mines in Britain opened in Mid Wales, with stone hammers and wedges used to open up the earth.

They found metals other than copper such as tin and by the time the industry was modernised, with the creation of an institution called the Society of Mines Royal in 1568, silver was being successfully sought in a range of places such as Cwmystwyth, Goginan and Cwmerfyn. Continue Reading →

The search for Kolar’s gold – by Shrabonti Bagchi (Live Mint – February 29, 2020)

https://www.livemint.com/

A multimedia project explores the lives and music of Cornish miners who made Kolar, in Karnataka, their home in the early 20th century

One rainy evening in the summer of 2018 in Cornwall, UK, Laura Garcia was watching a documentary about Indian music on the BBC, wondering if there was any link between this tiny part of England—with its distinctive culture and language—and India. Curious, she did a Google search.

Garcia wasn’t expecting to find anything but after a few pages of inconclusive results, she stumbled upon a cursory mention of Cornish miners making their way to a small town in southern India to work in the country’s only gold fields in the early 20th century. The find kicked off an obsession for Garcia, a member of Cornishfolk band The Rowan Tree.

The history and movement of the Cornish diaspora is well documented but the stories of the miners who went to the Kolar Gold Fields (KGF), now in Karnataka, are not as well known as, say, the histories of those who went to Australia or Canada. Continue Reading →

Blood, diamonds and dynasties on a little explored Indian plateau – by Ute Junker (Australian Financial Review – February 7, 2020)

https://www.afr.com/

The forgotten empires of the southern highlands left behind some of the subcontinent’s most remarkable ruins, temples and palaces.

They say it took months to sack the city. The palaces went up in flames; so did the elephant stables. The raging heat from the conflagration cracked the famous singing columns in the temples and the fearsome stone walls that ringed the city, and evaporated the water from the canals that sluiced water to the orchards and the ornamental pools. It was a spectacular fall, one that matched the dazzling rise of India’s richest city, Vijayanagara, the City of Victory, the hub of a mighty empire.

Never heard of Vijayanagara? You’re not alone. While the former princely strongholds of Rajasthan are among India’s most popular tourist destinations, the royal dynasties that flourished on the Deccan – the highlands that dominate much of India’s southern half – are far less well known. Yet for millenniums, empires rose and fell here.

The Pallava and Satavahana, Kakatiya and Maratha are names that are virtually unknown outside India, yet the dynasties of the Deccan offer some of India’s most remarkable sights to explore. Continue Reading →

Dreaming of an Artisanal Christmas – by Ann Mah (New York Times – December 18, 2019)

https://www.nytimes.com/

A Southern California native went looking for an old-fashioned Christmas. She found it in the “Christmas ornament town” of Seiffen, tucked in Germany’s Ore Mountains.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had this image of Christmas: a village nestled in a snowy valley, candlelit windows glowing against a night sky. I’m not sure where it came from. Growing up in sunny Southern California, my family strung lights on the palm trees in our yard and went to the beach on Christmas Eve. Most kids know about Santa’s sleigh, but I believed he traveled on a magic speedboat.

As an adult, I’ve searched for that old-fashioned Christmas, one of snow-tipped Yuletide cheer, sleigh rides, sugarplums and freshly cut pine trees trimmed with handcrafted ornaments. Though I visited the Christmas markets in European capitals like London, Paris and Vienna, I never really found it.

Yes, the fairy lights twinkled, the sweet scent of mulled wine drifted, and sometimes snow crunched under my heels. Yes, the market stalls displayed an array of glittering ornaments for the tree and home. Yet upon closer inspection, the decorations were flimsy, their designs repeating from vendor to vendor as if they shared the same supplier: an industrial factory in a distant land. Continue Reading →

Next up for precious metals: An IPO for a company that funds mining projects – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – November 27, 2019)

https://business.financialpost.com/

It’s the latest sign that rising gold prices are giving Canada’s mining market a shot in the arm

In the latest sign that rising gold prices are giving Canada’s mining market a shot in the arm, Toronto-based Triple Flag Precious Metals Corp. has announced plans to raise $360 million through an initial public offering scheduled for next year.

The company, which finances mining projects for a cut of the revenue produced by the mine, known as royalties or streams depending on the details, was founded in 2016 by former Barrick Gold Corp. executive Shaun Usmar with backing from Elliott Management, a U.S. hedge fund known for its activism.

Now, with gold prices rising and the equity financings still slow for mining companies, Triple Flag said it plans to open up a 17 per cent stake in the company to public investment, by issuing 20 million shares, priced between $15 and $18. Elliot Management would retain control of 83 per cent of the company, or about 97 million shares. Continue Reading →

The Tragic True Story Behind The Crown’s Aberfan Mining Disaster Episode – by Samantha Vincenty (Oprah Magazine – November 20, 2019)

https://www.oprahmag.com/

In its three seasons, The Crown has educated many of its viewers on events that their history books may have skipped, such as the Profumo affair, the Great Smog of 1952, and the life and death of Princess Alice. “Aberfan,” the third episode of season 3, tells the story of a particularly horrifying day in U.K. history: The Aberfan mining disaster, which killed over 100 children at the Pantaglas Junior High School.

The Netflix series also attempts to explain why it took eight days for the queen to pay a visit to the site of the tragedy. Here’s what really happened at the Aberfan disaster portrayed on The Crown, and how Queen Elizabeth II reportedly feels about her reaction years later.

How did the Aberfan disaster happen?

It was a Friday morning on October 21, 1966, shortly after 9:00 a.m. In the South Wales coal mining village of Aberfan, students at the Pantglas Junior School had just began their day’s lessons after singing the hymn “All Things Bright and Beautiful,” as they did on every other school day before it. Continue Reading →