Arqueología industrial en Río Tintoproducción hidrometalúrgica (1725-1954) y sus paisajes culturales

  1. Aquilino Delgado Domínguez
Supervised by:
  1. Juan Aurelio Pérez Macías Director
  2. Juan Antonio Márquez Domínguez Director

Defence university: Universidad de Huelva

Fecha de defensa: 28 May 2021

  1. Bernabé Escobar-Pérez Chair
  2. Ana Gessa Perera Secretary
  3. Sonia Royo Montañés Committee member

Type: Thesis


This research work is a diachronic study of the history of the technology developed in Río Tinto between 1725 and 1954 in the hydrometallurgical operations for obtaining copper and the facilities where the hydrometallurgical operations were developed. For this we have used bibliographic, documentary, planimetric, photographic and film documentation, together with field work that has allowed us to determine where the different cementation systems were developed. With which we elaborate some worksheets, where each one of them has been described. Thus, we have been able to document the San Roque Cementation, where natural cementation took place between 1752 and the sale of Río Tinto in 1873, when the waters inside the mine were no longer used because the opening of Corta Filón Sur began, on the mass of the same name. The artificial cementation works were developed in three facilities: Sta. María, or First Department, Cerda Cementation or Second Department and Planes Cementation or Third Department. These three factories in 1873 with the sale of the mines to RTCL were put back into operation, although Sta. María, due to its location in the construction area of the railway platform and the increased number of cementings, was soon demolished. The other two cementations with various extensions and adaptations to the Doetsch processes survived until 1904 the Planes Cementation, and until 1927 the Cerda Cementation. In 1927 RTCL centralized all the works in Naya, which was expanded to be able to continue producing the same as before the two cementations were reduced to one. This facility was equipped with a Sulfur Dioxide Reduction plant that reduced the ferric oxide contained in the water and thus also reduced the consumption of iron in the canals. Finally, we have defined the industrial landscape generated by the hydrometallurgical operations, which is currently only preserved in Zarandas Naya, where, in addition to the remains of the cementing facilities, the rain has acted on the land, giving rise to gullies, narrow ravines and something deep, giving rise to a bandlands-type landscape, which we can call “induced anthropic”, since it has been the action of man who contributed the material but it has been natural agents who have acted on the material laid out on the ground. All these operations developed in Río Tinto during 229 years, allowed to obtain 283,158 tons of copper, that is to say, 28.6% of the production of this mining deposit.