In 1842, the priest Giovanni Antonio Pischedda was granted permission to inspect the area near Guspini and to extract 25 tons of galena. In his quest for investors, he met the young Sardinian Giovanni Antonio Sanna, who founded the Mining Company for the Mining of Lead at Montevecchio and was granted a concession by King Carlo Alberto in 1848 to exploit the ore deposits. In 1865, the mine already employed 1,100 miners, making it the most important ore and zinc mine in the Kingdom of Italy.
Today the mines constitute the Historical Mining Park of Sardinia, which in turn is part of the UNESCO Geopark network. Five guided tours unlock this unique ensemble of industrial monuments. In addition to the Anglosardo gallery tour and a visit to a foundry and various workshops, another tour explores the Sant'Antonio mine, which - typical of its time - hides a winding machine, compressors and a power station behind neo-Gothic facades including a crenellated tower. The surface facilities of the Piccalinna mine display a 120 hp hoist capable of lifting 20 cubic metres of ore per hour. A guided tour through the Renaissance-style "Palazzina della Direzione" reveals the former residence of the mine founder and the offices of the mine.