From old mining to new mining: the introduction of differential flotation in Spanish mines and its environmental impact

Authors

  • Miguel Ángel López Morell University of Murcia
  • Miguel Ángel Pérez de Perceval Verde Universidad de Murcia

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1344/rhi.v28i77.28892

Keywords:

Differential flotation, history of mining, technological change, Spain, twentieth century, environmental impact

Abstract

From the beginning of the twentieth century, the use of differential flotation gave rise to profound changes in mining as it enabled a wider range of minerals to be processed and low-grade and complex ores to be extracted profitably. This paper analyses how this technology spread throughout Spain, especially in the Sierra de Cartagena-La Unión, where it was heavily used. The question remains, however, regarding the long delay in the incorporation of such a profitable system in Spain. We will examine the reasons for this and highlight institutional elements as the main hurdle in adopting new concentration techniques. We will also study the huge impact that large-scale flotation had on this particular mining area, where it caused one of the greatest ecological disasters ever attributed to mining

Author Biography

Miguel Ángel López Morell, University of Murcia

Catedrático de Universidad del Área de Conocimiento de Historia e Instituciones Económicas

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Published

2019-11-20

Issue

Section

Articles