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Washing Amethysts in the Bidet

by Fiona Pitt-kethley

30 years ago, the La Unión mines closed. Fiona describes the area’s collectible minerals, the abandoned mines, including historical anecdotes about the people, mining communities, rocks and a way of Spanish life that is now gone.

132 in stock


Meet The Author

"Fiona Pitt-Kethley is a British poet, novelist, writer and journalist who has lived in Spain for over 20 years with her husband, British Chess Champion James Plaskett. She has written for the Times, Telegraph, Independent, Guardian, London Review of Books, Oldie and other publications as well as more than 20 books of her on. Recent poetry books include Mineral Adventures from Rack Press. Most of her older titles are now available for Kindle. She lives in Cartagena where her hobbies include mountain walking, snorkelling and rock collecting."

Thirty years ago, all the La Unión mines closed. The metals didn’t run out, but the ever-changing market values and the health problems of the miners were part of the reason that the industry died. This is by no means the whole story. The whole history involves many minor closedowns, fluctuations in the price of metals, other factors like War and, finally, issues of contamination. There are still vast quarries, but these seem to be used, largely, for building stone or dumping. The landscape is littered with ruined mining buildings and thousands of well-like ventilation shafts. 265 Mines are indexed, over 140 collectible minerals are covered, with over 50 of the commonest illustrated in colour. “Washing Amethysts in the Bidet” is more than a comprehensive look at the huge range of minerals that can be collected in this fascinating area in Murcia it also reveals where they can found and what the terrain is like. Fiona has filled the book with her own experiences, real stories about the abandoned mines, the people she has met on the way and fascinating historical anecdotes about the places she visited whilst exploring. This is more than a book about collecting geological specimens, although that aspect is well covered. It is a book about people, mining communities and stories of a way of life that is now gone.

Contents: Introduction, 1: La Unión, 2: Amethysts and Quartz, 3: A Little Mining History, 4: El Descargador, 5: The FEVE, 6: Llano del Beal, 7: Cabezo de Ponce, Peña de Águila and the Campos de Golf, 8: Opal, 9: Pyrite, 10: Galena, 11: Escombreras, 12: Lo Campano and San Julián, 13: Barite, 14: Monte Miral, 15: Fluorite, 16: Zinc Blende, 17: Portmán, 18: El Gorguel, 19: Gypsum, 20: Quarries, Deviline and Micros,  21: Lavadero Roberto and Peñarroya, 22: The Big Bosses, Strikes and Riots, 23: The Close Down of Mining, 24: BIC, 25: The Dying Mar Menor, Glossary: Minerals of the Sierra Minera, Minerals, Micro Minerals, Bibliography, Index

(265 Mines Indexed. Over 140 collectible minerals covered, with over 50 of the commonest illustrated)


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