In order to efficiently exploit the mineral deposits in Asturias, properly trained technicians were needed.
Jovellanos had already raised the need for mineralogy teaching, and thanks to his impetus, lessons began to be taught in 1794 at the Real Instituto de Náutica y Mineralogía (Royal Institute of Nautical and Mineralogy) in Gijón.
Despite Jovellanos' efforts, the establishment of a specific centre for the training of technicians was delayed until 1849, when the Ley de Minas ("mining law") was approved. This established the creation of Escuelas Prácticas de Minas ("practical mining schools") in Almadén and Asturias.
In 1854, when the German geologist Guillermo Schulz was the director, the teaching activity began at the Escuela Práctica de Minas in Mieres. The students graduated with the title of foreman. Renowned engineers combined their work in the large Asturian mining and iron and steel companies with teaching at the school in Mieres. This was the case of Jerónimo Ibrán and Francisco Gascué.
Mónica García Cuetos