Project Detail: Mining railroad and Mars on Earth


Reportage and Documentary 2019




Jose Antonio Gomez Mateo


Project Info

Mining railroad and Mars on Earth

I intend to document mining in the Spanish basin of Rio Tinto, with its railroad; as well as the beauty and uniqueness of Tinto river and its Martian environment...

With the present photographic series, I intend to tell-very briefly-what the Rio Tinto railroad and the particular beauty of that river have been ... To the point of giving it the generic name of "Mining railroad and Mars on Earth", because it seems that the railway has crossed Martian territory, more than mines in operation for thousands of years.

Since I only have 1000 characters, I can say little here. If you wish, you can contact me for more information. In short, Rio Tinto fascinates me for its unique colors, for its uniqueness and for showing us the very origin of life on Earth, as well as the parallelism with Mars and the possibility of life in highly acid and unthinkable environments. Hence, NASA itself with other researchers have spent many years working on various projects, not only related to the planet Mars ...

Unfortunately, several fires have plagued the region in a few years (that I have reflected in three aerial photographs). Respect (mainly) to the images of the railroad, I have given a peculiar treatment in the development that I hope not disgust the jury.

To say that the Ríotinto Company Limited was constituted on February 14, 1873, days after the works began that ended on July 28, 1875.

The importance of the railroad in the transport of the mineral can be verified by the high amount of mineral that allowed to export, because it came to transport 10,000 tons. daily. The railroad was also dedicated to the transport of passengers, already 1,900 had traveled more than 1,000,000 people. It came to have 36 passenger cars. There were two classes: the third class used for the local transport of the miners and several saloon cars used on special occasions.

In 1984, the mining railway line was put to an end, which for more than a century had been the driving force that had allowed the full exploitation of the minerals. The high maintenance costs, the new transport alternatives and its poor profitability advised its stoppage.

Nowadays, however, we can continue enjoying the visit to the mining Museum, House of the English and the river itself and its unique landscapes, aboard a train of the time.