term asbestos includes six different fibrous minerals:
chrysotile, hamosite, tremolite, actinolite, crocidolite and
of these minerals chrysotile (white asbestos), crocidolite (blue
asbestos) and hamosite (brown asbestos) was widely used.
Cyprus has the chrysotile variety of asbestos, which
makes for 90% of the world’s demand.
asbestos occurs throughout the serpentinite group of the Troodos
Ophiolite but the main deposits occur over an area of about 20
km2 near the village of Amiantos and within highly
fractured plutonic rocks on the eastern slopes of the
serpentinite outcrop. The excellent quality and the longer
fibres are associated with highly brecciated host rock and are
also often associated with concentration of magnetite. Asbestos is found in veins, the width of which vary from a
few millimetres up to 15 mm (Fig. 8).
The fibres are short and in most cases less than 10 mm in
length, although locally reach more than 30 mm.
They grow usually perpendicular to the direction of the
veins. The average
grade of the deposit was approximately 0.8-1.0%.
genesis of asbestos is associated with the serpentinisation of
the harzburgite, the basal rock type of the ophiolite.
Serpentinisation is the product of hydration of the
harzburgite, which produces a group of minerals of the
serpentinite that have the same chemical composition with the
parent rock (harzburgite), but they occupy a larger volume and
have a much lower specific gravity.
Serpentinisation occurs from hydrothermal fluids that
circulate in the parent rock along fractures.
has been known for its asbestos since the Classical and Roman
times. Asbestos was
used for making textiles, shoes and fireproof materials.
The exploitation of chrysotile asbestos began in 1904.
The material was mined and milled on-site and then
transported, initially by overhead ropeway but later by trucks,
to Limassol for shipment. The
bulk of the production has been exported with only small
tonnages utilised in Cyprus.
Its primary use was in the manufacture of asbestos cement
Asbestos Mine was operating profitably until 1981.
Since 1982, at the time when the price of asbestos
dropped dramatically, the mine faced economic problems, which
combined with environmental problems led to the cancellation of
the mining lease in 1992. In total, more than 150 million tonnes of rock have been
excavated for the production of 1 million tonnes of asbestos
Reserves of around 9 million tonnes of crude asbestos are understood to remain within the northeastern flank of the Mount Olympus area.