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Silver and gold mineralization was discovered in the late 1600s in the epithermal sulfide-rich veins of Mineral de Pozos Mining District, northeast Guanajuato state, Mexico. The main exploitation period of this mining district was between 1888 and 1922, with sporadic activities until 1942. Exploitation of the deposit is estimated at 1,200,000 tons of ore with average of 202 g/ton silver, and 11.83 g/ton Au. Mineral waste materials (more than 1 million tons) are scattered along the area on the main creeks and in the ancient processing plants (Haciendas de Beneficio). In this field guide, we present brief descriptions of the mineralization, the geology of the area, some of the ancient processing plants, and the potential dispersion of metals derived from the mine tailings into the environment (soil, sediments, and groundwater). Despite the relatively high concentrations of As and Pb in groundwater (0.011–0.090 mg/l As and 0.025–0.035 mg/l Pb), we consider that these values represent natural background values rather than contamination derived from anthropogenic input. However, we consider that Zn is the only metal potentially derived from mining activities being released to the environment. The historical processing plants offer a very interesting perspective of the more than a century old mining activities.

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