Mining in Artigas, Uruguay, started in the middle of 19th century.
At the beginning, miners were divided into small groups, each of them with a long
piece of iron thrust to the ground, so when they heard some crystal noise,
they started to dig in that place. They used to make big holes about 3
meters wide, and 3 or 4 meters deep. After they have got the stones, they
sent them to Germany to the Idar-oberstein city.
Exportation quantity at that time was not very much per year; just in the early 80s,
mining companies started to buy small machines to work in the land according to
the demand of their products from the different countries. These machines worked
from 1980 to 1999, so the production continued for 19 years.
The difference was in the destiny of these productions: Brazil imported more
than other countries. At the beginning of the 21st century, the
Chinese market was opened with the rough Agate stone. When this
happened, many other companies started to change these smaller
machines to bigger machines to supply the demand of this market.
Nowadays, there is a very good and stable marketing with China, Europe, USA and other countries that started
to develop more and more businesses. Since 1998, the mining companies started to work on rocks and used
dynamite in order to make tunnels to get Amethyst stones. When they started to work this way,
different types of calcites appeared in the Amethyst mines.