The Amiantos Mine, encompassing an area of 4.7 square kilometres, is the largest chrysotile asbestos deposit in Europe, with an average grade of 0.8% to 1.0%. Organised asbestos production at the current site began in 1904 and continued until the mine closed in 1988. During that time, an estimated 130 million tons of rock were extracted, yielding one million tons of asbestos fibres. After the mining lease ended in 1992, the government initiated extensive rehabilitation efforts, which commenced in the fall of 1995 under a multidisciplinary team's guidance. Their primary goals included stabilising, rehabilitating, and reforesting the waste dumps in the broader mine area, restoring industrial buildings, and designing a comprehensive master plan for the mine site.
Asbestos mineralisation is found in veins up to 2 cm thick, with fibres growing perpendicular to the vein direction. This mineralisation resulted from the serpentinisation of ultramafic rocks in the Troodos Ophiolite Complex. Seawater circulation through harzburgite and dunite caused the serpentinisation of the original minerals (primarily olivine) and their transformation into serpentine minerals such as antigorite, lizardite, and chrysotile.
Cyprus is considered one of the oldest sources of asbestos. The asbestos outcrops drew attention due to their unique fibrous texture, and people quickly discovered their uses, utilising their natural properties. In ancient times, particularly during the Classical and Roman periods, asbestos made shrouds for cremating the deceased, shoes, and lamp wicks. Picrolite, another mineral formed with chrysotile, was also extensively used in antiquity for creating jewellery and small figurines, such as cruciform figurines, during the Chalcolithic Period (3,900-2,500 BC), ranging in height from 5-6 cm to 15 cm.