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Belmez - Alto Guadiato Mining District

Alto Guadiato Mining District

The Belmez, Espiel, Pozoblanco and Peiiarroya-Pueblonuevo mining basin yields coal- rich carbonated deposits. The mining of copper pyrite and lead-rich galena also became very important.



There is documented evidence of prehistoric Copper Age mining activity in Cordoba but it was truly developed during the Roman times as shown by the advanced Arquimedes screw technology at the "Santa Barbara" lead mine in Posadas (Cordoba). The first documented industrial complex was built adjacent to Pueblonuevo del Terrible In the district of Pedroches and Guadiato in 1875 by the coal company Hullera Belmezana which at that time was working intensely and exporting its products by rail between Belmez and el Castillo de Almorchon once the rail connection between Belmez and Cordoba had been completed.

In 1881 in Paris a group of entrepreneurs created a company called Sociedad Minera y Metalurgica de Pefiarroya to support Hullera Belmezana. This company was destined to become one of the most dynamic of all of the foreign companies operating in Andalusia at the end of the lgth century; by 1914, the powerful Penarroya industrial complex had become one of Spain's most important industrial centres.

Underground and open-pit mining have left important heritage in the form of shafts and galleries as well as headframes, pump houses and ore washing tanks. Of the industrial buildings, special mention should be made of the Precious Metal Foundry of 1891, the Central Warehouse of 1910, the Nordon Warehouse, Coke Ovens and Power Plant of 1918, the railway station and a wide array of lesser installations such as pipelines, workshops, substations and smokestacks making the Peiiarroya Industrial Park one of the country's most important archaeological-industrial complexes. In 1927 the towns of Peiiarroya and Pueblonuevo were united forming the municipality as it is known today where French colonial influence is plain to see in the architecture and urban planning scheme. The same is true of the so-called Barrio Frances (French Quarter) where the homes of SMMP executives were located. The administrative headquarters of the SMMP was designed in 191 1. The Social Centre for SMMP executives, the market, hospital and French school are all examples of urban planning and architecture reminiscent of the French tradition. The mining railway system was very well developed along the Almorchon-Belmez (MZA), Cordoba-Belmez (Ferrocarriles Andaluces) and Pefiarroya- Puertollano lines.

The mines amongst others in Andalucia and Spain are classified as Mining Heritage. Since 2007 have been on the UNESCO tentative list of  World Heritage sites. The above text description is from that submission.