Mercury mines nominated for World Heritage

In the Slovenian town of Idria, officials from Spain, Mexico, Slovenia and Peru are meeting to nominate their countries’ historic mercury mines for the UNESCO world heritage list.

Members of the International Commission for Monuments and Sites are also present to help formulate the proposal, which is due by September, and the definitive project plan, due by the end of the year. The mines of Almadén (Spain), Idria (Slovenia), Huancavelica (Peru) and San Luis Potosí (Mexico) are to be included in the joint proposal, titled “The Intercontinental Royal Route of Mercury.

Spain and Slovenia will also cooperate on programs to face environmental and health problems associated with mercury production.

In colonial times, mercury was a vital ingredient in the refining of precious metals, and the Huancavelica mercury mine was vital for the efficient use of the Bolivian silver mines at Potosí. The Huancavelica mines, now disused, are a fascinating site to visit with their ornate carvings and now abandoned town.

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Huancavelica mercury mine

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