Zona minera. RIALIA. Industria Museoa-Museo de la Industria

Iron Ore

Iron Ore

Iron ore has decisively shaped the history of the left bank over the past 150 years. These quarries were open-pit mines, and for their extraction, pickaxe, wedge and dynamite were used.

This activity completely disfigured the landscape: rivers were diverted; giant holes were opened in the mountains; and the town of Gallarta was even moved, to continue exploiting the mines. It was first transported with almost 2,000 mules and more than 1,000 oxen, but soon 13 inclined planes were built for the wagons; 22 aerial trams were laid to lower it in buckets to the 28 loaders that were installed in the estuary, take the ore to Altos Hornos or to the boats that, docked in the estuary, transported it to the British steel mills; 33 furnaces were installed to burn the iron; and the densest railway network in Europe was drawn: in 1906 there were 500 km of railways in 2,163 km2.

Dozens of mining companies were formed, including 64 in England, employing more than 20,000 people, and by the end of the 19th century, they accounted for a tenth of the world’s mining, according to mining engineer Ramón Adán de Yarza. From 1877 to 1915, about 140 million tons of iron ore were mined in the Triano Mountains.

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