The extraction of iron on Elba was formerly one of the primary industries on the island, and iron mining is the reason that both the ancient Greeks before Christ and later the Romans came to the island, just to get part of the underground treasures. Since 1984, it has no longer been a profitable business to extract the iron directly out of the ground, so now the old mines are like rusty relics, however, it has the important role to tell you about the harsh life, the miners lived yet not so many years ago.
Today you can visit the mines in different packages, depending on how real you want your experience to be.
Visit for example La Piccola Miner outside Porto Azzuro the road towards Rio Marina; Here is advertised a REAL mine and a "real" mine train. During your visit the last 15 minutes your are visiting an underground section of the mine and can see the many machines that have been in use at the mine. For further information: http://www.lapiccolaminiera.it
Another way to visit one of Elba's many iron mines is with the small modern excursion called Trenino. The trip from Rio Marina (where you can also buy tickets) to the largest of the mines, Valle Giove. Here one can still hope to find pyrite and hematite, and when you do not find a copy of this, you can, at the end of the trip, have a look at all the mineralogical findings, in mine-park's museum. For further info: http://www.parcominelba.it