These stark structures sit off by themselves apart from the abandoned mines around Mineral de Pozos, my favorite place in the world. They were no longer used and abandoned long before the mining operations ceased with the onset of the Revolution in 1910 for the simple reason that the landscape became denuded of all fuel to fire them. Separation of the metals from the ore was then done chemically using mercury among other incredibly poisonous stuff, which slowly, and sometimes not so slowly, poisoned the men who did that chemical smelting.
I visit Mineral de Pozos, which is roughly an hour’s drive away, about once a month in lieu of church attendance. There is a strange and inexplicable spiritual reward for me in this.