Places You Might Not Know Were Famous for Metals
People have been mining metal for centuries, with many of the towns that sprung up around the mines becoming rich and hugely important. Yet, you might not realise that the following places were made famous through metal mining.
Butte, USA – Trade Unions and St Patrick’s Day
Butte, Montana has been the scene of some famous events over the years, with many of them linked to its mining industry. It started out as a gold mining town and then silver was found here. But it was the rich seam of copper that turned it into the major mining centre that it became.
A quarter of the world’s copper came from here at one point, right at the time that the metal was in massive demand because of the move to electricity. The thousands of miners operating here made it a place where trade unions had a huge influence. These days, it is best known for its St Patrick’s Day celebrations, the Montana Folk Festival and the impressive array of historic buildings.
La Rinconada, Peru – The Highest Settlement on Earth
At over 5,000 metres above sea level and with dangerously thin air, La Rinconada is without doubt the highest permanent settlement on the planet. It sits high in the Andes and lacks basic services like running water and a sewage system. So why would over 70,000 people choose to make this cold and hostile place their home?
The answer is gold. Lying just below the Sleeping Beauty glacier, people have been finding gold here for almost half a century. La Rinconada now finally has electricity, but all of the rubbish accumulated here is either burned or buried, as there are no garbage collection services.
Potosi, Bolivia – The Centre of the Silver Mining World
At over 4,000 metres above sea level, Potosi is a cold and bleak city in Bolivia. Now impoverished and half-forgotten, it was once one of the world’s finest and most important cities. The hill that dominates the city was the biggest silver deposit on the planet, with an estimated 60,000 tonnes being dug out between the 16th century and the end of the 20th century.
Miners still work here, digging out whatever metals they can find. It is a long way from modern metalworking, with its rigorous safety procedures and CE marked fabrications. Potosi is popular among adventurous tourists, who can go on a tour to visit the narrow, claustrophobic mines where statues of the El Tio deity watch over the workers.
Cornwall, UK – A Rich History You Can Still Explore
Cornwall is one of the very best places to explore the rich history of mining. There are many tourist attractions here where you can see old mines and discover the importance of this region in the past. One good example is the Tolgus Tin Mill.
It is part of the Cornwall Gold and Tolgus Mill complex and is described as being the last working tin mill in Cornwall. Visitors can see the process of extracting the ore and turning it into something useful. Tourists can also discover some of the fascinating true stories of the people who lived and worked here.