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Mining

The mines of Asgata, known as Kalavassos mines, operated from time to time, from antiquity until 1978. 

Μεταλλείο Πλατειών Archaeological excavations have brought to light many findings that indicate, as Kavazis mentions, that “the mine operated in antiquity, later than the Roman time”. Many findings came to light, many “ancient crawlways and plumbs”. 

What is more, archaeological researches have shown that the process of metals took place at the mine. This indicated by traces of rust and the big kilns of the mines found at the archaeological site. It is worth mentioning that “local timber” was used for the mine firing kilns. What is more, it must be noted that during antiquity, always according to Kavazis, mostly slaves worked at the mines. 

The above mentioned successful period for the mines, was succeeded by a not so successful one. Explicitly, miner works stopped for centuries and re-started during the first decade of the 19th century. An English company, “Ria Rinto”, conducted a survey near the mine area in 1925. Three years later, in 1928, their operation was decided. However, some years later, in 1935 or 1936 the company “sold the privilege and work to the Anonymous Greek Chemical Products and Fertilizers Company, which was later named EME”. 

The re-operation of the mine, as mentioned by Kavazis, “gave a new life to Asgata”. From 1939 until 1965, Asgata flourished in many sectors and “presented the picture of a small town”. It must be noted that its population tripled during this time. The prosperity of Asgata is indicated in the magazine published by the Association of Asgatans in America. It is worth mentioning that this magazine got its information for the inhabitants of the area. Fragments from volumes of the magazine follow, as found from Kavazis. The fragments are accompanied by a short comment. 

“To the ‘Cypriot Guard’ of the 26th September we saw that the company of the mines of our village seeks contractors in order to build houses for its workers”(issue 24) 

The mine contributed to the residential growth of the area, hence to the increase of population. 

Μεταλλωρύχοι (φωτογραφία 1948)“The mine is progressing. Tests have proven that there is enough metal to occupy 1000 workers for 30 years. For the transport of the metal to Zygi, a road from Mavridia until Kalavassos was constructed. AnewroadtoLantarkaandMavrin Sykianisconstructed. A ship has been loading with pyrites (Fool’s gold) for Germany since Easter Sunday.(issue 21) 

The mine added to the development of a road network in the wider area. 

“The village has changed a lot as the mine gave a new life to it; it has five cars, and beautiful roads. The mine has helped our village a lot, because there is work for everyone who wants to work and they pay 2½ schillings daily for eight hours of work. Many mine workers live in the village and shop from our grocery stores. Additionally, the mine offers a first class market for the products of our village, many people from our village transfer there whatever they have to sell (fruits etc) and sell it to the workers or the kiosk of the mine. Thanks to the mine, the roads towards Hartzin were fixed and a bridge was constructed at Arkosykia. Now everyone is working hard to build the new village at Plathkies, a whole town of 2.000 inhabitants or even more” (issue 25 November 1937) 

“You should know that our village has a new face, workers come there from the four parts of Cyprus to work at the mine. There 1000 people working at the mine and the railway. Thereisnomorespace. We rented all the available houses.(issue 28, May 1938, Letter of Michael Pyrros sent to Asgatans Association of America) 

Μεταλλείο ΜαυρίδιαThe above mentioned fragment shows the prosperity and wealth of Asgata, the new small town. One would say that the village gained life from the mine.

“The dearest young K.Michalakis Demosthenis Phili sent us the following letter. You need to know that 150 rooms were built in Pladkies in Tsaggaroloucas’s filed. These rooms will be used as offices of the company. What is more, a big gold process factory will be build near there shortly. The mine is progressing. Almost 600 people are working in the subterranean   department. The kiosk gains a lot of money. The director of the mine K. MMousoullos is a very good man and a friend of the village. 

Kostas Hadji Giannis built a shed in Plathkies and his brother turned it into a grocery and coffee shop. Businessisgood (issue 27, March 1938)

It is obvious that the mine helped create jobs for many people. Important information is the fact that a factory for processing gold was to open in the village. Undoubtedly, this would mean even more work positions. It is worth noticing the way in which the sender of the letter expresses his feeling s for the director of the mine. 

Μηχανή – autoloader

Concluding, Kavazis underlines that “the mine of Asgata continued to operate until 1978. It stopped when it ceased to be a profitable business and was abandoned by EME”. 

Βαγόνια για τημεταφορά

Πηγή:Αρχείο ΕΜΕ
Πηγή:Αρχείο ΕΜΕ Πηγή:Αρχείο ΠΕΟ
Πηγή:Αρχείο ΕΜΕ Πηγή:Αρχείο ΕΜΕ
Πηγή:Αρχείο ΕΜΕ
Πηγή:Αρχείο ΠΕΟ

Source:

Antonis Kavazis, “Asgata”, publ. Asgata Expartiates’ Association, Limassol 1992 

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