Departmental Bulletin Paper Proactive mining system in potosi silver mines : new information from re-evaluation of historical materials regarding the fifth viceroy toledo’s various policies on environment

Miyoshi, Emako  ,  Anezaki, Shoji

2pp.171 - 197 , 2016-03 , Graduate School of Human Sciences
In this paper, the proactive mining system introduced by the fifth viceroy, Francisco de Toledo (1569–1581) to the Potosi Silver Mine is clarified on the facts found in the historical documents. Main policies in Toledo’s mining business are followings, the application of mercury-amalgamation to extract silver from ores, the construction of the hydraulic-powered system for silver-ore crashing with cascading uses, the recycle system included the extraction of silver from waste ores and collection mercury by pulpprocessing. Also in the Toledo’s era, acceleration of developing Huancavelica mercury mine, and national monopolization and production control on mercury were established. And within Toledo’s mining law, there were cautionary items for pre¬venting the inhalation of mercury gas and the construction of hospitals for treatment. According to those items, the viceroy Toledo may be prominent organizer for business but because these were not technically perfect, environmental damages referred to now as mine pollution started from the colonial period and continued until modern-day period. This pollution can be found in Potosi’s air, water, and soil. The history of Potosi mine can’t be described leaving out the viceroy Toledo.

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