But undoubtedly the emergence of mining in the province and in the Natural Park took place in Roman times, to the point that, as stated by Francisco Hernández Ortiz in his article (in Spanish), 'few important mineral deposits were not being exploited and / or investigated by the Romans'. As he points out, the technology in the working of mines and mineral processing, and management of the sites and materials removed are significant contributions to mining development that also were made by the Romans. In the particular case of Cabo de Gata, although there are remains that allow us to talk about mining several centuries before Christ, the truth is that the older remains of which we can surely state that are associated with the extraction of earth resources belong to Roman times.
Not surprisingly, the first minerals to be systematically exploited are the alums of Rodalquilar. They are a series of hydrated sulfates with large industrial applications, the best known and exploited in historical times is being its use as mordant, to facilitate attachment of the colors in the fabrics. Today, alums are substances used also in the paper industry and in cosmetics and hygiene. The presence of a necropolis near the village of Rodalquilar, amphorae around El Playazo anchorage and Roman pier (you can see it in our path "rocks that were alive"), and the fact that the Romans knew and widely used these substances are arguments supporting the thesis that they were exploited at least between I and III centuries AD. It is out of any doubt also that in the twelfth century, with the emergence of the textile industry in the city of Almeria, under Arabic, alums of the region were widely exploited and used.
After the siege and razing of Almería, which followed the famous episode of the landing of the Genoese fleet on the beach of the same name, begins a period of decline that is not recovered until the arrival of the Catholic Kings. The peaceful conquest of the province of Almería between 1488 and 1489 brought various several royal charters allowing the extraction of the mineral resources of the diocese of Almería, some of which focused on Rodalquilar alums. Other resources exploited in the province were gold, silver or copper. At the beginning of the XVI Century, the Torre de los Alumbres fortress was built to defend the first stable settlement on the coast of Cabo de Gata, La Ermita, which was born in the shelter of the concession to Mr. Francisco de Vargas to exploit the mines. Various factors, including the kingdom external conflicts, Moorish rebellions and pirate attacks from the sea, led to the closure of the mines in the late sixteenth century. This was followed by a period of low activity, in which various mineral resources exploited locally as alums themselves, garnets and amethysts. From the beginning of S. XIX mining in the region begins to emerge again, but these new times will be the subject to future posts.