It looks like a place where time came to a stop just when the mining activity, which went on – with its ups and downs - for over a century, was at its peak. The mineral riches of the Malfidano area were already known to the Romans, who sought silver here, and was then very different from what we see today, covered in thick woods where brigands and outlaws sought refuge. In fact, its name comes from the Italian for shady business, or malaffare. In 1864, the French engineer Giovanni Eyquem was given permission to mine for lead and found a huge deposit of calaminarian masses that provided zinc. This led to the foundation of the Malfidano mining company, while at the base of Mt. Caitas, not far from the beach, the first houses of the village of Buggerru began to be constructed.
They dug into the mountain of Malfidano and other nearby hills until they came across the Caitas deposits, which, they forecast, would provide plenty of work for well over a century. The Buggerru, Lamarmora and Malfidano processing stations to treat the minerals were constructed between 1870 and 1890. The Malfidano plant almost fulfilled its expectations and was in operation until 1979. It was the largest of the three and is still visible from the nearby tourist harbour. During its heyday, for the first time in Sardinia, pneumatic drills were used to carve a drainage channel, which allowed them to extract more of the mineral. Much was invested in the business of mining for lead and zinc and buildings cropped up around the village. From 1866 to when it was closed, Buggerru produced more than a million tons of zinc and in excess of 200 thousand tons of lead.
While today Buggerru is a popular seaside resort set on a lovely shoreline, home to Cala Domestica beach, it was also the site of the first repression of striking miners, who had asked for improvements in work and living conditions. Things came to a head on 4 September, 1904, the day of the Buggerru Massacre, when three striking workers were shot and killed. The 1920-30 financial crisis and the problems brought on by the world war eventually forced closure of the mine, which had became the property of Pertusola in 1928. The decline had been relentless and in 1955 the great Caitas mine was finally closed for good.