Mining activities for base and precious metals started in the 7th century B.C. with the Phoenicians, followed in the 4th century by the Greeks and then the Romans. The mining was both open - pit and underground, and concentrated on the numerous karst hosted calamine deposits for lead and silver although there was also minor exploitation of gold and copper. Worth mentioning is the discovery of a paleolithic addit located at Tzines iron mine, whose age has being estimated at approximately 15.000 years old, (Kovkouli et. al. 1988) for the exploitation of limonitic ochre.
More recently, mining companies such as Speidel (1905-1912) and Vielle Montagne (1925-1930) exploited the Zn-Pb (calamine) ores which had reported grades over 12% Zn+Pb. In 1905 a metallurgical plant was erected at Limenaria for the calcination of the calamines in vertical and Oxland furnaces to produce ZnO. Later (1926) the calcination plant was rebuilt by Vieille Montagne with Waelz system rotary furnaces. Iron ore mining became important during the years 1954-1964. Several mining companies (Krupp and Apostolopoulos A.E., Chondrodimos S.A.)exploited the iron ore deposits of the island. It is estimated that total mineral production during the period 1905-1964 was about 2 million tonnes of calamine (12% Zn+Pb) and 3 million tonnes of iron ore (44% Fe). After 1964 there is no mining activity on the island.
A new exploration effort was initiated in 1976 by IGME aimed at locating hidden primary base metal mineralization. Core drilling resulted in the discovery at the Marlou prospect, in 1979, of a stratabound primary Zn-Pb deposit at a depth of 200 m. The marble quarrying had a parallel history with the mining activity until the Byzantine period. In the present era, starting about forty years ago, marble quarrying is the only activity concerning the mineral wealth of Thasos.