Emery mines of Naxos have been declared preserved by the Ministry of Culture and are considered the most important monument of the modern industrial history of Greece. For many years, emery has been one of the most important Greek minerals and Naxos was the only emery producing area in Europe. The deposits are found in the northeastern mountainous side of the island, around the villages Apeiranthos and Koronos.
Emery has been already known in the antiquity. Until the Greek Revolution of 1821 it was under community control and its trade was flourishing. The exploitation of the mines was made in form of informal cooperatives of workers, who held shares and shared the costs of mining and the profits. The workers mined emery by constructing tunnels 50-250m deep.
Considerable work was the creation of the skytrain, with which they transferred emery from the mines to Moutsouna, where they loaded it on ships (the highest mines were connected to the skytrain stations with inclined ramps). It was constructed in 1926-1929 and started to operate in 1930. The network consists of 72 pillars, trolleys, loading facilities, engine rooms, storage areas, etc. This skytrain operated until 1978 and is one of the very few preserved in Greece.
– Emery is a mineral used as an abrasive media and lubricant for metal, glass, wood or rocks, but also as a slip-resistant material for the floors and the streets. The emery ingredients are corundum, magnetite, hematite, diaspore, tourmaline, margarite and others. Its quality depends on the corundum contained.
– Today there are several Naxians who work about 1-2 months in the summer to collect a certain quantity each.