Tours start at Museo Minero de Riotinto "Ernest Lluch", Plaza Ernest Lluch, Riotinto, Andalucia.
JAN to mid-JUL daily 10:30-15, 16-19.
Mid-JUL to mid-SEP daily 10:30-15, 16-20.
Mid-SEP to DEC daily 10:30-15, 16-19.
Museo Minero + Casa21 + Ferrocarril Minero + Peña de Hierro + Corta Atalaya:
Adults EUR 23, Children (4-12) EUR 18, Children (0-3) free, Seniors (65+) EUR 18.
Groups (30+): Adults EUR 18.
|Light:||Incandescent Electric Light System|
Open cast: L=330 m, W=190 m, VR=65 m.
Underground mine: VR=155 m, 12 levels.
|Address:||Parque Minero de Riotinto, Plaza Ernest Lluch s/n, CP 21660, Minas de Riotinto, Tel: +34-959590025, Fax: +34-959591074. E-mail:|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
|1853-1883||mined by the Agapito Artaloitia.|
|1883-1901||mined by the Peninsular Copper Company.|
|1901-1955||mined by the Peña Copper Mines Limited.|
|1955-1960||mined by the Compañía Nacional de Piritas.|
|1960-1972||mined by the Riotinto Patiño.|
|2004||mine restored as a show mine by the Riotinto Foundation.|
Riotinto is part of the Iberian Pyrite Belt, which is 300 million years old and of volcanic sedimentary origin. The iron ore was produced by black smokers on the ground of a sea. The result of the low oxygen and high sulfur conditions is mostly pyrite (FeS2). But there are also a lot of other minerals and ores, generally different sulfates of various metals.
The Parque Minero de Riotinto (mining park of Riotinto) is a sort of mining theme park at the town Minas de Riotinto. It includes the ride on a steam railway, a victorian house with a mining and local history museum, and a mine tour in Peña de Hierro mine. The huge open cast mine is located at the northern border of the town.
The Peña de Hierro mine was named after the hill it is mining. The hill consists of iron ore, mostly pyrite (FeS2) in high concentrations. Many other minerals and ores, mostly sulfites, can be found too. In the open cast the ore was mined with controlled blasts. The ore was then transported to the processing plant, crushed and enriched with chemical processes. The resulting ores, the pyrite and copper sulfate, were transported by rail to Huelva and Sevilla where they were shipped to overseas markets.
Mining started at Roman times, and was carried out during the centuries. But in the early 19th century the mining was modernized and became very profitable. During the times different mining companies have exploited the ore, see history section above. Today a part of the mine has been restored as a show mine, guided visits are organized by Riotinto Mining Museum. The restored underground tunnel is 200 m long. The tour includes an outlook showing the open cast, the Mars research centre of I.N.T.A. and N.A.S.A., and the source of the Rio Tinto (red river).
The Rio Tinto (Red River) springs in the area of the mine. The river has given its name to the town and the area, and the famous mining company which still operates numerous mines all over the world. We could not find out how the river got its name, but it is quite obvious that erosion of the ores on the surface produces red metal oxides which will give the water a characteristic color. This process might have been boosted by the highly contaminated water running from the waste heaps the mine.