Photograph of Besshi mine in 1930s

Wikimedia Commons

Copper has been mined at Besshi (133.315E 33.875N), on the island of Shikoku, since 1691.  The ore takes the form of thin sheets of massive sulfide associated with dacitic and andesitic volcanism.  These extended from the original diggings, at 4236' (1291 meters) above sea level on Dozan Ridge, to more than 3000' (1000 meters) below sea level, the maximum depth for economic extraction when the mine closed in 1973.  At one time, Besshi was the most productive copper mine in the world, and its wealth was a major source of revenues for the Tokigawa Shogunate of 1603-1867.  The mine was rapidly modernized during the Meiji era (1868-1912).

Production was around 23,000 tons per year during the war.

Rail connections:




City of Niihama (accessed 2013-12-19)

U.S. Geological Survey (accessed 2013-12-19)

Van Royen and Bowles (1952)

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