Abstract: The International Mercury Cartel, 1928-1949

Miguel A. López-Morell and Luciano Segreto


The first aim of this work will be to describe the features of the various stages of development of the international mercury market during the first half of the twentieth century, with emphasis on the characteristics and conditioning factors in each period. Second, we want to analyze the various market agreements that resulted from the worldwide collusive duopoly known as "Mercurio Europeo" based in Lausanne, which came into being in 1928 after a series of agreements between the Spanish and the Italian producers, the effectiveness of the clauses therein, the construction of distribution networks, and the influence that the increase in production had on other mines and on certain technological developments. This research has drawn on unprecedented sources for its preparation, in particular the minutes of Mercurio Europeo deposited in the archives of the Fundación Almadén (Almaden Trust), as well as those of Monte Amiata company Archives (at the Mining Museum in Abbadia S. Salvatore), the IRI Historical Archives in Rome, the Rothschild Archives in London, and the National Archives of the United States (Department of Commerce).