The aim of mining exploration was to replace coal imports from England. A national company called YPF created the mineral coal area and thus
was founded. Two campsites were settled down at Río Turbio in 1943 so as to do some recognition of the coal mining area.
As works began at Mine 1, they were devoted to geological exploration and hand extraction techniques. Once selected, the material was carried to Río Gallegos by truck.
The primitive original buildings were replaced by big sheds, deposits and large factories. The number of workers in 1946 was 120. Almost 450 million tons of material were extracted and transported to Río Gallegos
Mine 2 was opened in 1947. The hard extraction works were hard at both locations. Pickaxes were used and only one compressor triggered out ten hammers simultaneously to extract 80 tons per day. A chamber and pillar exploitation system was applied to support the mines roof. This means that coal was extracted following its structural characteristics and leaving pillars of untouched material. Later on, supports made of native lenga
wood were used to hold the columns to make better use of the material.
YCF was privatized in the 1990s, like many other companies in the country. Only Mine 5 is active now with two shafts.
Mine 1 still preserves the memory of the first coal exploitations in scale models, work tools and a guided access to the galleries led by old miners at its Mining School Museum. In the winter, the snow gives life to a ski resort in this area. The times when coal gave origin to a small city that lived on this industry will always be remembered.