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4th Seminar: Francesca Sanna, "Growing in a time of crisis: the Société Minière et Métallurgique Peñarroya and the making of a Mediterranean industrial network (1920-1940)"

Sanna Francesca (University of Reims - Champagne Ardenne)
Leda Papastefanaki (University of Ioannina & IMS/FORTH)


Between the mid-19th century and the 1950s, the Mediterranean mining basin participated in the development of contemporary industry both in terms of economic expansion and technological circulation. In mining and metallurgy,  this period was characterized by a alternatively dynamic of rushes and crises, in which companies of all sizes and players from various backgrounds tried to structure their activities coping with extreme price volatility. In that context, the Peñarroya Mining and Metallurgical Company (SMMP) became one of the leading European multinationals and the first Mediterranean multinational specialized in the extraction of non-ferrous minerals. The growth of this firm and its peculiar strategies are strictly related to this time of crises. Especially during the Great Depression, the SMMP implemented its structure by absorbing and reshaping a network of existing mining and metallurgical companies in the Mediterranean and continental Europe. The result was a complex and multipolar industrial and financial architecture, which connected the fragments of the Mediterranean mining basin in a new dynamic network. Those interconnections, animated by technological and financial circulations, transformed and propelled the flow of mining resources into the metallurgical integration and, eventually, into the market. To this extent, management was the key to guarantee the technical and administrative continuity of the productive space and the implementation of scientific management became fundamental to develop the industrial network of SMMP.  Through a multilevel micro-analytical perspective, the history of SMMP reveals the strategies of the growth of the firm and within a space, the Mediterranean, animated by economic an technological circulations and innovation, even in a time of crises.


Francesca Sanna, Post-doc fellow, University of Reims - Champagne Ardenne. Specialized in economic and history, Francesca Sanna holds a Phd in History and Civilization from Paris Cité University (Organiser la Méditerranée minière : gestion d’entreprise, contrôle des ressources et rationalisation du travail à la Société minière et métallurgique Peñarroya (1881-1950)). She currently works as a post-doc in the ANR-Me3dAx Project (University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne)


Date: Monday 6 March 2023, 16:00-18:00

The Seminar will be held in a hybrid format.

Venue: National Hellenic Research Foundation (48, Vas. Konstantinou av., Athens). Groundfloor, Seminars' room. 

Zoom link:



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