A Socio-Environmental History of a Copper Mining Company: Rio-Tinto Company Limited (1874–1930)
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Mining activities cause serious pollution problems that affect health and the environment. This paper focuses on the environmental and biological effects that mining activity had on the population living and working in the Riotinto-Nerva area in the last third of the nineteenth century and the early twentieth century, when this area accounted for approximately 10% of world copper production. To do so, we explore the social, technological, and scientific responses to environmental pollution caused by mining extraction in this area during industrialisation. Second, we analyse welfare indicators, such as the heights of conscripts and mortality rates, so as to examine the social effects of the mining activity. Third, municipal health and education expenditures are examined to study the intervention made by the local authorities to address the welfare problems caused by the mining work and environment. Finally, we examine whether the health policy had positive effects on the health of the p...