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AEGEAN ISLANDS

The mines

The presence of mineral deposits in Serifos has been known since ancient times. During the Roman rule, but especially during the Venetian rule, in the 14th century, intensive mining was carried out to meet the needs of the great naval power of that time. The sightseers mention the transportation of slaves in the underground arcades and the existence of four benefices which were separated based on the mineralized zones.

With the breakdown of the Aegean’s Duchy by the Ottomans, in the 16th century, mining ceased to exist until the 19th century, when the longest mining facility on the islands began in Megalo Livadi and Koutalas. Since 1861, and systematically since 1869, the ore mining began by the Hellenic Mining Company, which remained there until 1875.

After 1880 the French company “Societe des mines Seriphos-Spiliazeza” proceeded to intensive exploitation of Serifos’s mines. Andreas Syngros and Giovanni Baptista Serpieri, important figures in the mining industry at that time, were involed with its operation. The third company of Greek-French interests, which operated in Serifos since 1887, was Viarou-Sgoutas-Dufour.

In 1886, the German mineralogist Emilios Gromman took over the management of the “Societe des mines Seriphos-Spiliazeza” company and all the mines of Serifos. The Grommans controlled the island by also making extensive infrastructure works for ore mining, transportation and loading in the ships. The ore was exported to the USA, England, Sweden and Belgium.

After the death of Emilios in 1906, the company management was taken over by his son George Gromman. The remaining companies of the island were slowly acquired by the “Societe des mines Seriphos-Spiliazeza” company. Workers from Mykonos, Paros, Karpathos, Euboea, and Amorgos came to Serifos to become mine workers. In 1912, the population reached 4.400 people, out of whom 2.000 worked in the mines. In August 1916, the great strike of Serifos’s miners occurred leading to clashes with the police forces in Megalo Livadi and 8 people were killed.

Since 1933, magafer of the company was Emilios Gromman, son of George. After the war, the Grommans were expelled from Serifos as collaborators of the Germans. In 1951 the “Societe des mines Seriphos-Spiliazeza” company ceased its operations. The mines closed down for good in 1965.

 

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