The Linares – La Carolina mining district is located in the north of the Province of Jaén, in the Autonomous Region of Andalucía. Linares lies about 280 kilometers south of the Spanish Capital, Madrid. The mining fields extends for about 40 kilometres south of Despeñaperros (in the Sierra Morena mountain range) and about 30 kilometres from west to east. The A4 Motorway that runs south of Madrid lies just on the west of Linares (See map).
The town of La Carolina and the surrounding area, including the little mining village of Centenillo, also contains a wealth of mining culture. It lies 28 kilometres to the north of Linares and on the A4 motorway. Bailén is now a centre for ceramic manufacturing. Smaller towns in the area include Guarromán and Baños de la Encina. The latter is dominated by a Moorish castle, and it is where specimens of Linarite, a rare mineral formed by the oxidation of Galena and Chalcopyrite, with a very intense blue color, named after Linares, can occasionally be found on the mine dumps.
The rich mining culture of the area is reflected by the number of heritage, archaeology and mining history groups, as well as interested individuals, who visit the area. The cultural importance of the area has been recognized since the 1970s but the area received wide acclaim in 1999 when the European partners of the MINET Project (a group dedicated to pulling together areas with a European mining heritage) visited the district. The visit resulted in an article in a Cornish newspaper that described the huge importance of what the group had seen. Mining remains abound, including the largest grouping of Cornish type engine houses to be found anywhere in the world outside Cornwall and Devon in the United Kingdom.
This appreciation of the mining heritage confirmed local views, based on work carried out from 1991, when the Arrayanes Project was launched. This is a heritage of international, historical, technological, cultural and economic importance with an exceptional concentration of remains, some unmatched elsewhere and representing of an intense “Industrial Revolution”. The Linares – La Carolina district is now included on the UNESCO Mining Historical Heritage Tentative List for Spain. (http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/5139/)