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This is the largest open cast mine in Europe and without doubt the most perfect. Its size amazes all who visit it: 1200m long, 900 wide and 350 deep. It was one of the most ambitious projects of an English company and was in operation until 20 years ago.
Visits are organised by the Fundacion Riotinto, starting from the Mining Museum.
This open cast mine in the western region of La Masa San Dionisio began in 1907 after large parts of the same mine collapsed in 1905 resulting in the destruction of large amounts of the mineral pyrite. The mine was exploited in standard stratums until the 16th floor and also by small Gloria cups or “Glory Holes.”
A village called La Atalaya used to exist at the edge of this cutting. The origins of this village go back to 1887-1888 where it appeared as a district of the original town with 257 buildings and 823 inhabitants. It was like this until 1970 when the Atalaya cutting was enlarged and the village had to be totally destroyed a year later.
La Atalaya’s greatest growth index happened in 1910 when the mine reached its greatest exploitation levels. In this year there were 1472 inhabitants, almost double that of 1888. In 1960, ten years before the village fell into disuse, La Atalaya had 994 inhabitants.
At the present time, the village’s ghostly ruins can still be seen, presiding over the western edge of the mine (now inactive) that for many years was the largest open cast mine in the world.
HUELVA - Corta Atalaya. Information and photos of Corta Atalaya in HUELVA. SOL Spain On Line.
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