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Mines of Rio Tinto. Encounters in the 3rd Phase

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The Mines of Rio Tinto They are a mining enclave located north of the province of Huelva that was closed at the beginning of the 21st century. From there various minerals were extracted among which were the pyrite (Iron Sulfide) and chalcopririte (Iron and Copper Disulfide), which stain color the waters of the Rio Tinto. Its extraterrestrial appearance and the conditions that instead occur, were chosen by the scientists of the North American space agency (POT), for the test of special suits that could be used in a hypothetical visit to the red planet, Mars.


Rio Tinto

Mines of Rio Tinto. Encounters in the 3rd Phase

Initially the Mines were exploited by the Spanish state until 1873, which were purchased by Rio Tinto Company Limited of British capital. The mines in those years were quite isolated from the main urban centers, without good roads and without a railroad until 1875, forced their workers to spend most of their time in that area. This forced to find ways to not get bored and for the British it was nothing other than the Soccer. This peculiarity led to making Rio Tinto “The Cradle of Soccer in Spain”, since it was the place where the practice of this sport originated and over the years the foundation of the Recreativo de Huelva In 1889, considered the oldest football club in Spain.

Sports anecdotes aside, the Rio Tinto Mines are dispersed in three locations, mainly Rio Tinto, The pasture and Nerva, all with the same tourist importance.

The first of these is logically the most famous, given that it gives name to the mines. It is also the one that has access to the deepest mine in the complex, as well as a museum and a tourist railway. Today if things have not changed, you have to visit it on foot from The English Quarter of Bellavista.

Going on foot is not easy to find and only known to the locals or to those who like maps :-D. As soon as you enter the English Quarter, you turn right until the end. There you leave the car and border the urbanization leaving this on your left side. After the urbanization you will enter a small network of trails within a pine forest. If you continue straight ahead, you will arrive at the mine and I assure you that you will have the best views this. All at the modest price of € 0.


Mines of Rio Tinto (La Dehesa)

We leave the mine and visit the one located on the road that leads from Rio Tinto to La Dehesa, there's no way to get lost. Upon reaching this last town, we will find a lookout, but honestly the light wires spoil the photographs so if you cross the road on foot. You can enter the mine and get better views.

Important, they are in orientation East, so it is best to visit it at sunset, just the opposite of the other mine, which we should visit in the morning.


Rio Tinto

Behind the viewpoint there are several abandoned extraction machines, of a considerable size. Surely those who have children at home, these will have a very similar toy.


Mines of Rio Tinto

Continuing our visit to the mines, we pass the village of La Dehesa and just 1 kilometer away is the turnoff to the Peña de Hierro mine, mandatory stop on our visit. At the beginning the road is dirt, and after 4 / 5km we will reach an esplanade from which a river leaves. Here we must stop and continue walking along the direction of a well marked path.
Following this river will leave you stunned, since it is not a normal river, due to its reddish, orange and sometimes green colors. The rocks that border it are copper colored and the rest of the landscape is dyed in different shades of yellow.


Peña del Hierro area

Below there are several water rafts and their color is definitely dyed red, DANGER. It doesn't seem healthy at all, but Nothing is further from reality since this water comes out like this from the very bowels of the Peña de Hierro and in fact it is full of organic life.


Peña del Hierro area

Seeing these photos, no wonder that the POT I would do experiments in these lands.


Peña del Hierro area

We return to the car and continue the dirt road to an asphalted road, where there is a mine and the Santa Maria tunnel, of access under tourist package. The rest if we have not booked anything, we can see it without problems.


Santa Maria Tunnel Zone (Peña de Hierro)

There are certain tunnels that are scary to get into them, from which a water of green tones comes out, not suitable for human consumption. However, your access is totally prohibited.

From this area and if you have more time, there are several routes of trekking that lead you to other areas of the mines.


Santa Maria Tunnel Zone (Peña de Hierro)

To end the visit we were at Gossan Reservoir, on the outskirts of La Dehesa and the town of Nerva, where the road to the Peña de Hierro mine ends, as well as being the largest town in the area.


Gossán Reservoir

Today the mines remain closed and in a state of abandonment. Due to the rise of certain minerals such as copper, there are several reports that raise the opening of the mines.

Practical data Mines of Rio Tinto

When to go to the mines of Rio Tinto?

The best dates to visit the area range from September to early June. July and August are very hot months and with a lot of tourism.

Where to stay?

The three locations have rural houses and hotel establishments. In our case, it was a visit from the city of Huelva, because it is only one hour away.

Our recommendation is to use the city ​​of Huelva as the base of our excursions and fleeing the beach tourism that floods a large part of the province. As the best option the Monte Conquero Hotel, both for quality and price, with a frankly impressive breakfast and exquisite customer service.

Travel insurance

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