Exploring the Mines of Rio Tinto, Spain

During my tow-month stay in Seville I did a scouting tour with my motorbike to the Rio Tinto river. The river is known for its reddish color which is caused by microorganisms that process sulfur and iron ore. The microorganisms produce sulfuric acid which makes the river very acid and “normal” life impossible. The spring of the Rio Tinto river is located in a mining area. Since 3000 BC different cultures like the Tartessos, the Romans, or the British have exploited the area and left their traces. The goal of my trip was to get an overview of the region and to have fun with my camera and motorbike.

Overview of the area around Nerva and the Rio Tinto river. The open-pit mine Cerro Colorado is still in operation. The towns Nerva and Minas de Riotinto are literally located in the middle of the mining area. The historic open-pit mines Atalaya and Peña de Hierro are no longer in operation. Peña de Hierro can be visited. The train station is where you can take a train along the Rio Tinto river towards the coast (Huelva).
The colors along the Rio Tinto river are amazing. If you have a car or a motorbike you can explore the region around the village Berrocal where the river passes. There you can find some awesome photos. Along the river you also find old train stations and ruins of former mines. Berrocal is about 30min south of Nerva on the way towards Huelva.
As of today, the open-cast mine of Cerro Colorado is operated by the Atalaya Mining corporation and produces copper and silver. The pit is about 230m deep and located just outside Nerva. This photo has been taken during blue hour at an official viewpoint.
There are several lakes that have different colors. Unfortunately, several are not reachable since they belong to the Atalaya Mining corporation. The two lakes depicted above are separated by a dam. The left lake is called Embalse del Agua and the right one Embalse de Gossán. This location is easily accessible.
In the region between Nerva and Seville it is common to see burned woodland. Most of the fires are man made. In 2004 a mayor fire burned 26,500 hectares. The photo above shows a victim of an artificial fire in 2018. The tree caught the sunlight very beautiful and the plantations in the background build a nice contrast.
The region along the Rio Tinto river is a paradise for people who like to explore lost places. Man left traces from around 5000 years of minding. The ruins above are located close to the train station between Nerva and Minas de Riotinto. I guess it shows a former train station where trains got loaded.
Exploring the entire area is very rewarding.

I also published a video about the trip on Youtube (in German):

Goodbye Andalusia

Time flies very fast. After two months in Andalusia it is time to say “Goodbye”. Here is a short summary of things I did during my stay.

For new year’s eve I hiked up the hill behind the La Chanca district of Almeria. My idea was to take a nice panorama with all the fireworks above the city. When the people in the street where counting down the last seconds of 2017 I was ready to shoot. “3, 2, 1, …” but nothing happened. I thought “Well, perhaps the Spaniards are slow starters.“. Unfortunately, I was not aware that fireworks is not famous in Spain. I had to blend the photos of about 30min together in order to get something that was similar to what I was aiming for.

One awesome thing about southern Spain is the short distance to northern Africa. You can literally take a ferry for a weekend trip to Africa. Ferries leaving from Almeria usually take 6-8 hours to destinations in Morocco or Algeria. I did a weekend trip to the UNESCO world heritage site in Fez/Morocco. The medieval city center is definitely worth visiting. Especially if you are interested in people. On the way to Fez I also drove up into the Atlas mountains. Unfortunately, I did not have more time. Morocco is a rewarding destination: easy to travel, cheap, and exotic.

There are many more locations to explore around Almeria like the nearby Sierra Nevada or the Tabernas dessert. One weekend I drove to the Lighthouse of Cabo de Gata. To the bottom of the lighthouse is a famous photography spot where you can photograph the rocks of the Las Sirenas reef. Instead of taking a shot of the grand vista I wanted to shoot a close-up off the most famous rock so that details of the texture become visible.

I was lucky that morning: the waves hitting the rocks caused spray that caught the first rays of the morning sun and created nice light spots. I decided to go for a long exposure to create a moody and quiet image. I am pretty happy with the result.

It was an awesome time in Almeria. Let’s see when I will come back to spend some more time in this region. Let’s continue!

© Stefan Warwas 2017 All Rights Reserved