MOS – History of Mining for Gold, Precious Metals, & Home Materials

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Welcome To The Official Blog of Mines of Sardinia

The constitution of the Geologic and Mining Park of Sardinia, ensures that the experience, acquaintances, techniques, practices, places, spaces,environments, buildings – in short, all that the mine has represented for a substantial part of Sardinia – does not get lost. New opportunities arise, provided that the creativity, acquaintances and competences necessary are present in order to transform the last passive participation in the mine’s experience, in active and direct management of a heritage that has no equal in Italy.

In 1720 Sardinia was characterized by a great economic, social and cultural backwardness. Sardinian society was composed of farmers, shepherds (owners and servants), craftsmen who made up part of the lower class. The feudal lords, the noblemen, the high clergy, the knights and the high bureaucrats made up part of the privileged class. They were less numerous and very rarely resident in Sardinia, but had the most power.

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The General Claim to Carl Gustav Mandell

On 30 June 1740 a general claim was granted to a company established by the English trader Carl Brander, the German Carl von Holtzendorff and the Swedish consul in Cagliari Carl Gustav Mandell (the Mandell company). The agreement provided, in addition to the fusion and the export of all the Sardinian product, the exclusive right of mining in Sardinia. The State treasury had the first option to buy the product, and the company had to pay it twelve per cent of the extracted mineral.

A foundry was constructed near Villacidro (1742-1743). The plant worked only a few months during the year, when it was able to use the water of the small Leni torrent. The workings were concentrated in particular near the villages of Guspini and Arbus.

The agreement between the three businessmen was difficult since the beginning. After little time Mandell, left alone, entrusted himself whit the company. During the first period he used expert staff. He assumed German miners and Christian Bozen, German him too, like manager of the foundries and workshops.

The first difficulties for Carl Mandell arrived when Christian Bozen left the island and the company. Moreover the foundry produced less than the Swedish entrepreneur had hoped: the ratio between the costs (the mineral introduced in the furnaces, the burned firewood, the staff) and the obtained lead was unfavourable, and such it remained also after some modifications made to the plant.

On 20 February 1758 his claim was declared invalid. In fact he was suspected to have not respected the clauses of the claim. In particular the Reale Intendenza accused him to have evaded the state treasury clandestinely exporting purified silver. On 10 May 1759 he died before the Supreme Real Council of Turin pronounced a decision on his appeal.

For more information about the exclusive right of mining in Sardinia. Click here.

Mining History of Sardinia

Between the end of 1600 and the first decade of 1700, the balance between the European powers changed in an irreversible way. The crisis of the Spanish Empire after the death of Carl II (on November 1 1700), set off bloody wars over the division of its immense territories. The Spanish empire included the Netherlands, the Kingdom of Naples, Sicily, Sardinia, Milan, the colonies of Central and Southern America, the Philippines, as well as Spain.

The Treaty of Utrecht on 2 April 1713, and the Treaty of Rastadt on 6 March 1714, estabilished a new European and international order. An uncontestable affirmation of Great Britain coincided with the unconditioned surrender of Spain . Great Britain became the real arbitrator in Europe. The balance between France and Austria allowed England to impose its control on the seas and international trade.

With the peace of Utrecht Sardinia came to know the government of Austria. This condition lasted a few years, because already in 1718 Vittorio Amedeo II of the Savoy Dinasty received Sardinia in exchange for Sicily, in accordance with the pacts stipulated in London and signed in Hague in 1720.

The Savoy Dinasty was reluctant to accept Sardinia, a land that they did not want. Instead, they had asked for Tuscany. They tried, uselessly, “to barter it”, and to have other territories or cities like Venice in exchange. All the efforts proved in vain, and on 8 August 1720 the Kingdom of Sardinia was created: on 2 September of the same year Felice Pallavicino, the Baron of Saint Remy, was named viceroy.

In 1720 Sardinia was characterized by a great economic, social and cultural backwardness. Sardinian society was composed of farmers, shepherds (owners and servants), craftsmen who made up part of the lower class. The feudal lords, the noblemen, the high clergy, the knights and the high bureaucrats made up part of the privileged class. They were less numerous and very rarely resident in Sardinia, but had the most power.

It was necessary to create basic conditions for the development of Sardinia. The selected areas were agriculture and mining.

For more information about the development of Sardinia. Click here.