San Fernando Mine


San Fernando Mine

Orillés, Aller

Sociedad Industrial Asturiana Santa Bárbara (SIA) was founded in 1895, promoted by the engineer and businessman José Tartiere Lenegre with the financial support of other investors such as Policarpo Herrero. Tartiere will play an important role in the Asturian industrialisation, taking part in a number of companies in sectors such as energy production, banking and transportation.

SIA concentrated its mining activity in the council of Aller, sharing space with the prestigious Sociedad Hullera Española of the Marquess of Comillas. Its concessions in the area were distributed throughout the middle valley of the Aller and Negro rivers, organised into various groups such as Santa Bárbara, Santa Ana and Campueta. The company's logistical centre was located in Oyanco, with facilities such as washing and loading plants. The company designed a complete railway network to supply the mining groups, ensuring communication between them and also ensuring the dispatch of the coal. This included a steam tramway that ran down the railway to Ujo-Taruelo, linking up with the Basque Asturian Railway and the Santullano station in the north of the town.

As the mountain groups were exhausted in the 1950s, SIA sunk the San Fernando Mine near Orillés. This is a "balanza" shaft with a coal extraction system different from conventional vertical shafts, which had to be adopted due to its location in the middle of the hillside. The mineral was not taken out of the shaft from the headframe but through the 1,850-metre-long Santa Ana Adit at the bottom of the valley. The miners also entered through this adit, getting on the cage inside and ascending with it to each of the four floors. The traction was carried out by counterweights, so that the coal followed a reverse trajectory as it descended through the cage to the first floor where the adit was located.

SIA's mining activity ceased after its incorporation into the public company HUNOSA in 1967.

The 15-metre-high steel headframe, the machinery building and the Santa Ana adit still remain in a beautiful environment in the San Fernando Mine.

Mónica García Cuetos