Mining history of Spain;
March 10th, 2010
The Ayoluengo oil field (campo petrolífero de Ayoluengo) is a small petroleum deposit in Burgos. It was discovered in 1963, and for a time many believed the area would become the Spanish Texas, though yields have been small with 17 million barrels produced since its opening in 1963. Some 80 barrels are currently produced on a good day with some 80-100 million barrels left, of difficult access.
Photo from here
Not the most picturesque of sites perhaps, but when you drive past, you have to remind yourself you’re in Spain. A number of the old pumps (known locally as `caballitos´- little horses ) stand to one side, a cemetery of dinosaurs.
The great Spanish naturalist Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente was born in the village of Poza de la Sal. He described the village of his birth as a “human community” in “harmonious coexistence with the landscapes” which formed a “zoomorphic universe”. As a child he began to explore the natural area, watching and learning about the wildlife of area, which would later greatly influence his vision of the world. One day he saw a peregrine catch a duck here which led him to the world of falconry and then into natural history film making.
Set in the heart of the rugged and arid Cabo de Gata, the abandoned gold mines of Rodalquilar are a fascinating and extremely atmospheric spot to visit. The mines experienced a minor gold fever in the 1880s . They were reopened for a brief flash in the pan in 1989, before finally closing a year later. There are a number of abandoned mining cottages in the deserted village of San Diego, though some have been renovated now for tourism accommodation. At the bottom of the slope, the village of Rodalquilar itself is attractive and has a few bars offering cool drinks after a visit to the mines.
The first saline springs here were documented as early as the year 822. In the Middle Ages, salt production made the Salinas de Añana one of the most prosperous towns in the North of the Iberian Peninsula. A plan is underway to restore the site.
Las Médulas in the region of El Bierzo were once the site of the most important gold mine in the Roman Empire. The spectacular landscape of Las Médulas resulted from the Ruina Montium, a Roman mining technique described by Pliny the Elder in 77 AD which consisted of undermining the mountain with large quantities of water supplied by at least seven long aqueducts tapping the rivers in the nearby mountains. Today the collapsed mining shafts form an eerie terrain of jagged peaks, gorges and ravines, composing one of the most beautiful post-industrial landscapes in the world. Continue reading