A copper mine in Cyprus where the metal has been mined since Biblical times faces closure unless the Church of Cyprus can find a buyer, officials said on Wednesday.
The Skouriotissa mine, which produced copper ore at a site where there has been mining for some 4,000 years, suspended operations in January, leaving its workers unpaid and with debts labor unions estimate at 14 million pounds ($31.1 million).
Herod the Great, who in the Bible ordered the Massacre of the Innocents in an attempt to murder the infant Jesus, has been recorded among those having rights to mine at the site in Cyprus's picturesque Troodos Mountains.
According to the Semitic Museum at Harvard University, the ancient Romans leased the mines to the highest bidder. In 12 BC rights to mines in the area went to King Herod, who was allowed to keep half the profits.