The city started in 1943 due to the mining exploitation carried out by Yacimientos Carboníferos Fiscales, a company today in private hands. The oil field is formed by five coal layers, with an estimate reserve of 450 million tons.
In order to reach the mining exploitation, a 258 km. long industrial gauge railway track was installed to join Rio Turbio and Río Gallegos with the loading port.
The railway track was inaugurated on the 25th May 1951, eight years after the initial coal extraction. It was designed and constructed in 1950, and the execution took a little more than twelve months.
This railroad track is a genuine cultural and historical heritage. It enabled operations for solid fuel and heavy industry supply. It is a branch line with peculiar characteristics: a narrow gauge, steam engines, and slow trains with up to 60 wagons. But this small railway does not work any longer, since it only did so for the company with the only mission of transporting the coal from the deposits, carrying machines and supplies, and eventually, carrying passengers.
An interesting curiosity is that every 4th December, Miner´s day in honor to Saint Barbara, is the only occasion when women are allowed to visit the mines, since there is an ancestral belief by which the muses access to the center of the earth may bring about disgrace.
The weather here is cold, with strong snowfall in winter that accumulates up to half a meter.