Mining and Quarrying

Mining and Quarrying

For several millennia, Cyprus was an important source of copper ores (mainly cuprous pyrite) and other ores and minerals, including chromite, iron pyrite (mined for its sulphur content), asbestos, gypsum, and umber. In addition to these minerals, exploited mainly for export, limestone, sand, and aggregates were quarried in substantial quantities for the domestic cement and construction industries. In the 1950s, minerals accounted for three-fifths of exports and employed 6,700 persons. By 1963 minerals's share of exports had fallen to 34 percent, owing to both a changing world market and the growth of other sectors of the Cypriot economy. The Turkish invasion of 1974 disrupted or ended much mining activity. Many deposits in the government-controlled territory were nearing exhaustion. In 1981 minerals supplied only 4.5 percent of exports, and by the end of the 1980s less than l percent. Mining and quarrying also employed fewer persons: 1,800 in 1979 and half that in 1987. The branch's contribution to GDP had also become quite small: 0.5 percent to GDP in 1985 and in 1986 and 0.4 percent in 1987 and 1988. With the closure of the asbestos mine in 1988, the industry's contribution to GDP declined still further. In 1989 the principal minerals mined were flotation pyrites (57,455 tons), copper concentrates (1,752 tons), and copper precipitates (1,080 tons). The quarrying of sand, gravel, and road aggregate depended on construction demands. In the late 1980s, demand was generally good. In 1982 a port was constructed at Vasilikos on the south central coast to handle the mining and cement production of the Hellenic Mining Company.

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