Valuation of the Mining Heritage


The Euroregion A3 has an important archaeological, architectural, cultural, landscape and environmental heritage of enormous importance and potential as development elements, which has eight sites considered World Heritage by UNESCO, and numerous Cultural Interest Assets (BIC), which act as factors of tourist attraction and local development. It also contains the Iberian Pyrite Belt (IPB), with a significant concentration of massive sulphides, extraction of copper, zinc, lead and, in some cases, precious metals such as gold and silver. It is about 250 kilometers long and 30 to 50 kilometers wide, from Alcácer do Sal in Portugal, to the province of Seville in Spain. The current abandonment of most of the mines that were active in the nineteenth and mid-twentieth centuries is an important industrial archaeological heritage that seems not to be adequately considered by the towns and inhabitants of the area, and whose importance as tourist and landscape interest it is necessary to highlight and value. In these mining basins are mines declared Assets of Cultural Interest such as the Corta Atalaya, Peña del Hierro in Spain or Lousal mine and São Domingos mine in Portugal, in addition to other mining related facilities.

The PROBIOMA consortium has been able to observe that in Andalusia only in the town of Minas de Riotinto the mining heritage is valued, with the Interpretation Center of the Mining Park, the Mining Museum and the tourist railway along the course of the Tinto river, promoted by The Riotinto Foundation and in Portugal, only the Mina do Lousal with the Center of Science of Lousal. As part of the activities of the beneficiaries of this project, a series of actions will be developed for the valorization of the mines studied both in the Alentejo and Algarve and in the Riotinto mining basin, as a form of support for the development of the depressed rural areas from the physical, economic and social point of views. These envisage:

– Develop multimedia content, virtual reality and augmented reality for mobiles and tablets that allow the value of the sites from the tourist and heritage point of view;

– Create a set of activities (preparation of presentations and practical demonstrations on a laboratory scale) for subsequent communication to diversified audiences including awareness raising actions of local populations;

– Preparation of guides and design of ecotourism and industrial archeology itineraries that will communicate a message about the valuation and conservation of heritage. This action will include the preparation of different interpretive means (guided tours, printed, audiovisual, etc.), commenting on the value of the site or its assets for society, explaining the reasons for its care or protection and promoting good practices and behaviors with heritage and the local community. The design of an ecotourism and industrial archeology itinerary in the Rio Tinto mining basin can be a contribution to the region’s economy by attracting tourists to that depressed region. At the same time, the implementation of the itinerary can contribute to job creation (guides, vehicle drivers, etc.). Currently there is only one Mining Park in the town of Minas de Rio Tinto, promoted by the Rio Tinto Foundation. The proposed itinerary would cover another area of ​​the mining basin, further away, in the Andévalo and complete the existing offer.

On the other hand, in the PROBIOMA project various caves will be studied and, in particular, the cave of Escoural, in Alentejo, the only one in Portugal that presents cave paintings of the Paleolithic. This action is intended to:

– Develop multimedia content, virtual reality and augmented reality for mobiles and tablets that allow valuing this cave from the tourist and heritage point of view, reinforcing and improving the visitor’s visit and experience

– Implement a low-cost monitoring system that allows monitoring the evolution of the ecosystem and its biodiversity, and develop a medium-term program for the conservation of paintings.