Minas de Matahambre

Useful Information

Location: Calle 1ra # 76, 22300 Minas de Matahambre, Pinar del Río.
(22.5915083, -83.9416025)
Open: All year Mon-Sat 13-22.
Classification: MineCopper Mine
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: E. L. Miller (1925): Report on the Matahambre Mine, Pinar Del Río, Cuba Doctoral dissertation, University of Missouri, Rolla.
R. G. Pérez-Vázquez, J. C. Melgarejo (1998): El yacimiento Matahambre (Pinar del Río, Cuba): estructura y mineralogía [The Matahambre ore deposit (Pinar del Río, Cuba): structure and mineralogy] Acta geológica hispánica, 33(1), 133-152.
Address: Museo Municipal, Calle 1ra # 76, 22300 Minas de Matahambre, Pinar del Río, Tel: +53-48-8-336185. E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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1912 a farmer named Victoriano Miranda finds some shiny stones on the slopes of the Loma del Viento mountain.
24-FEB-1913 Sociedad Porta y Díaz officially established.
1914 first shaft sunk with wooden headframe.
1916 wooden headframe replaced with a steel headframe.
1921 American Metal Company from New Jersey acquires the majority of the shares, mine operated by the new founded Matahambre SA.
1944 majority of Matahambre SA shares returned into Cuban hands.
1957 successive crises due to the depletion of mineral in the deposits.
1960 mine passed into the hands of the revolutionary government, production promoted and stabilized.
30-JUL-1980 Museo Municipal founded.
1995 costs increased considerable and fall in copper prices on the international market.
1997 copper mine closed.
24-JAN-2000 declared a Monumento Nacional.


The town of Minas de Matahambre was named after the local copper mine, which provided work for many people, but was closed in 1997. It was called Mina Capitán Alberto Fernández Montes de Oca. The abandoned mine is the reason why the Sitio Histórico de Matahambre (Historical site of Matahambre) is listed as Monumento Nacional (National Monument). There is a small museum, the Museo Municipal, which commemorates the mining days. The museum has a collection of some 1,000 objects, mostly related to the economic and social development of the area. And it has a collection of old photographs about the first decades of the village. And of course there are numerous remains of the mining days visible all over the city. The highlight is the abandoned headframe of the copper mine.

Mining started, like often, with a farmer who found some shiny stones. Victoriano Miranda discovered the copper ore on the slopes of the Loma del Viento mountain. Alfredo Porta Rojas, the mayor of Pinar del Río, saw the stone and gave them to Don Manuel Luciano Díaz, a high-ranking government figure and wealthy businessman. He sent them to American laboratories for analysis where they determined a high copper content. Don Manuel Luciano Díaz received the mining concessions and established the Sociedad Porta y Díaz for the operation of the mines.

The mining started with horizontal galleries. In the following year the first shaft was sunken. The headframe on top of the shaft was built of wood, but was replaced in 1916 with a steel headframe. The first buildings around the shaft were erected, for the extraction and transportation of the mineral and workshops for the wood intended for the fortification of the tunnels. Then quarters for the increasing number of miners. And so the foundation of the town Minas de Matahambre was laid. Miners of multiple nationalities came in search of work, Spaniards, Chinese, Japanese, Russians, and others.

The Sociedad Porta y Díaz was very successful, the profits were millions, but after only eight years it was sold in 1921. The American Metal Company from New Jersey acquired the majority of the shares. But the mine was operated by the new founded Matahambre SA. They invested in infrastructure, installed a new aerial funicular system, modernized workshops and machinery, mineral treatment and concentration, and sunk shaft #2. This lasted until 1944, when the majority of Matahambre SA shares returned into Cuban hands. Ernesto Rumagosa Sánchez, related by marriage to a granddaughter of Don Manuel Luciano Díaz, took over the management of the company.

Several economic crises since 1957 were a result of the depletion of mineral in the deposits. When the mine passed into the hands of the revolutionary government in 1960, the copper ore production was promoted and stabilized. But in 1995 costs increased considerably due to the depth, and at the same time copper prices on the international market fell. As a result, the mine was permanently closed in 1997.

After the closure of the mine, it was declared a National Monument by the National Commission of Monuments of the Republic of Cuba. The mine buildings including the headframe and other machinery used in the production of copper ore are preserved around the museum. There is also a second exhibition area with a shovel machine, a locomotive, and a hauling winch.