During the ancient years, Serifos was famous for its ore deposits, which gave the island such wealth and strength, that in the 6th century BC, Serifos obtained its own currency.
The mining operations continued all through the Roman Years, with findings in several areas of the island that prove both extraction and processing of minerals. Later on, it was the Venetians that systematically organized the mining operations in Serifos, even by relocating slaves from other areas in order to maximize the production, so as to cover their great naval fleet needs.
When the Ottomans occupied the island, in the 16th century, the mining activity stopped. In 1861, after king Otto’s royal decree, and more intensively since 1869, the mines began to operate again, under the management of the Greek Mining Company, which belonged to the Greek National Bank.
Besides Serifos mines, the Company also operated in mines of other Greek areas. The ambitious plans of industrial production in Kimi, using its lignite for the reduction of iron ore in Serifos, failed though, mainly due to great technical problems and lack of internal market demand. Thus in 1875 the Company filed for bankruptcy.
A new dynamic company appeared in 1880, the French interests “Serifos-Spiliazeza” (Societe des Mines de Spiliazzeza au Lavrium et de Seriphos), which was consisted by the Ottoman Bank, rich people from Constantinople and other then famous capitalists, like Syggros and G.B. Serpieri –shareholder in Lavrio’s mines, too. In 1884 the company commissioned by contract the operation of the mines to the German mineralogist Emile Grohmann.
The company’s offices were initially located in Koutalas, where quite soon a small community was created. In Grohmann’s years, though, they were transferred in Megalo Livadi, which was the main iron ore export harbor of Serifos, equipped with all the necessary sorting and shipment facilities. In fact, there was also a conveyor system with rails and wagons that assisted the operations, part of which one can also see today, along with the loading bridge, by the side of the moorage.
In Mega Livadi the company also built its Headquarters for its offices – a two-story neoclassical building, with architectural elements of the “Ziller” school, ruins of which still stand at the end of the beach. During its peak time, from 1880 to approx. 1960, the area flourished. Next to the workers’ residencies there was a school, a police station, a bakery, a tailor shop, a grocery and a shoemaker shop, as well as a hospital nearby, in Mega Chorio village.