Rio de Frades is located in the Parish of Cabreiros, Council of Arouca, District of Aveiro.

The oldest known license for the exploitation of Rio de Frades, dates back to 1920 and was granted to the Societé Franco-Portugaise, that later sold its grant to the Mining Company in Northern Portugal (Companhia Mineira do Norte de Portugal), owned by German capital. It was through this company that Couto Mineiro de Rio de Frades underwent through major works of improvement (Silva, et al., 2004).

From 1942 until late 1944, the Mining Company of Northern Portugal performs the most important investments in the region. The road connecting Arouca to Rio de Frades is built, the mine facilities are electrified and a telephone line is installed (Vilar, 1998).

They also made huge investments in the ore separators and in the washing sections, so that the tungsten came out of Rio de Friars properly treated, going directly to the Regulatory Commission of Metals Trade (Comissão Reguladora do Comércio de Metais) and subsequently to export (Vilar, 1998).

The chief administrator of the Couto Mineiro de Rio de Frades was the German Dithmer Kurt, strong athletic build, who arrived in Portugal at the service of the steel company Krupp, to buy and sell wolfram to Germany. (Vilar, 1998) The family home was located in Ermesinde, in Travessa do Mirante, where in times of poverty, he liked to help local people "...he left a good reputation here in the region ... he gave soup to the poor ... work to people ... look here at this gate where on Saturdays, in his time, they  distributed soup..." [Informal collective interview No. 68. Ermesinde, November, 1998] (Lage, 2000: 168).