MONTEVIVE – Granada, a province rich in hidden treasures, is home to the largest European reserve of celestine, a mineral variety that has many uses, including medical and technological.
According to the regional newspaper Ideal, this hill contains an average celestine concentration of 60% over the entire area. In the past, Celestina mined in Granada was used to produce cathode ray tubes in televisions. However, the rise of plasma televisions led to a drastic decline in this application.
Recently, however, the mineral has found new medical (radiology) and technological applications, marking a revival of mining on Montevive. The mine, operated by Canteras Industriales from Madrid, employs 14 workers. They are all residents of neighbouring municipalities such as Las Gabias, La Malahá, and Alhendín.
Furthermore, most of them are third-generation miners. Children of the children of the first workers who exploited the quarry in the 1960s with rudimentary methods, mining small, highly concentrated quantities virtually by eye.
Diversification in Celestina use
The mineral from the Celestine mine is now used to produce strontium nitrates for fertilisers and strontium carbonate through chemical reactions. The latter is applied in electronics, semiconductor manufacturing, permanent magnet production, telecommunications, computer science, and metallurgy.
Export to China
It is notable that the celestina from Montavive is also exported in bulk to China. There it is highly sought after by technology companies. The mineral is transported from the port of Motril to the Asian country.
Annual production and future plans
About 50,000 tonnes of the mineral are mined annually, with an increase in 2020 by companies boosting their celestine reserves during the pandemic. For the coming years, the plan is to increase production through new, sustainable mining techniques.