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Index > Geological Mininig Resources of Andalusia


Geological Mininig Resources of Andalusia


The evolution of the human being and the development of civilizations have been closely linked to the use of mineral resources. So marked has been his influence which has appealed to them to mark the great periods of Prehistory: the Stone Age (Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic) and the Age of Metals (Chalcolithic or Copper Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age). Flint, copper, bronze (copper and tin ores obtained) and iron were, therefore, the first mineral resources emblematic used by man.

The exploitation of geological mining resources in Andalusia is no stranger to this fact, since it has a long tradition tied to different peoples and civilizations that have settled in our region or have used it as a productive and commercial basis throughout the centuries.

The most ancient mining works date back to the fourth and third millennium BC, both southwest of Andalusia, related to copper and precious metals from Huelva, and in the Southeast, by Almeria silver. Huelva was also where they produced the first collection of copper from the merger of minerals, which was a fact of vital importance for the people already within the culture of the Copper Age.

The civilizations of the culture of the Argar, the Tarterssian, Phoenician, Greek and Carthaginian inherited the original legacy extending tasks throughout the Andalusian, experiencing a great revival with the arrival of the Roman Empire, origin of the district Miner Linares - La Carolina, the mine of silver galena Centenillo, of the production levels of Riotinto gold and silver, as well as the exploitation of the copper mines of Tharsis (Huelva).

It is not until the 18th, 19th and first half of the 20th, when the biggest advance in the extension and in the production of mineral resources extends to the mining current, making the Andalusian region in the Spanish leader in terms of value of production, a total of 703.000.924 Euros, representing 23.3% of the national total of extractive industries (Mining Statistics of Spain 2014).

The previous value, 73.3% comes from metal mining, 21% of quarry for aggregates and materials of construction, 2.7% of ornamental rocks, 2.2% of industrial minerals and rocks, and 0.8% of energy resources.


These data have not been possible if it were not for the privileged subsoil of the region. The line of the Guadalquivir river divides the Andalusian territory in two very different areas from the point of view of Geology. The North zone, which covers the southernmost areas of the Iberian massif; and the southern part, which belongs to the field of Alpine chains, the Cordillera Betica and its foreland basin. The main structural features of the first zone are the result of the Variscan Orogeny (or Hercynian) and the previous, Caledonian on materials whose age ranges from Precambrian (probably upper Proterozoic: approximately 1,000 millions of years) up to the Upper Paleozoic (Permian about 250 million years). The second one was structured in the Alpine Cycle, and in it are the majority materials between ages of the Permian (270 million years old) and the Middle Miocene (15 million years), although there are Palaeozoic materials and, perhaps, Precambrian. The overall picture is complemented with materials that filled the Cenozoic or Tertiary basins, which ended up filling in Quaternary times.

Within the Iberian Massif, in the so-called Sudportuguesa area, highlights the existence of the Iberian Pyrite Belt (FPI), with more than 1,600 Mt of massive sulphides deposits and 2,500 Mt of stockwork mineralization, making it one of the most important metallogenic provinces in the world, and perhaps the largest concentration of sulphides in the world, with more than 82 mines.

According to the latest edition of the Cartography of Mineral Resources of Andalusia, carried out in 2011 by IGME and the Junta de Andalucía, there are more than 8,000 signs and exploitation of metallic minerals, rocks and industrial minerals in the area of the Andalusian territory.

The proper characterization of mineral resources and its geographical delimitation are the starting point essential for proper mineral and environmental management that, providing information of great value to the service of society, learning of the negative lessons of the past by the lack of environmental awareness, with a new vision oriented towards a sustainable extractive activity economically, technologically, socially and environmentally, not to mention the ethical sustainability.

Sustainable development is that which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It should contribute to improving the quality of life of our generation with the greatest possible equity and respecting the limits of the ecosystem, and at the same time create the bases for future generations to do the same.

Geological Mining resources likely to use can be classified in:

- Energy resources
- Metal mining
- Quarry products. Aggregates and construction products
- Ornamental rocks
- Minerals and industrial rocks
- Mineral waters

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