History of Mining

In Switzerland, ores and other mineral resources were already being extracted by mining methods 3500 years ago. There has been no mining activity in this country since 1967 – there is however an interest in its history.

Members of the Aeugst Coal Consortium (1917)
Members of the Aeugst Coal Consortium (1917) in front of the adit entrance to the Riedhof mine near Aeugst am Albis, Canton Zürich
© Verein Bergwerk Riedhof


Under mining we understand activities for extracting ores or other mineral resources through mining operations, production facilities or smelters.

Development of mining in Switzerland

The beginnings of historical mining in Switzerland go back 3500 years. Mining sites from the 14th and 15th century are known in Graubünden and Wallis. The technical development of the various epochs influenced mining: The 16th and 17th century represented in many places, a high point in the development of mining, in the same way as the first half of the 19th century. Mining was heavily reduced during both of the two world wars. The last two iron ore mines were closed in the 1960s; 1967 was definitely the end of mining in Switzerland.

Historical mining research

Nowadays the Swiss Geotechnical Commission (SGTK) and various national and regional societies and organizations deal with research and documentation of historical mining. The SGTK and the Swiss Geological Survey (documentation center) have extensive archives at their disposal. In addition, several exhibition mines are open to the public.

Map showing the “significant ore occurrences of Switzerland”
Map showing the “significant ore occurrences of Switzerland”. These include occurrences which have been exploited over an extended period of time, show a large supply of ores, historically were of great importance or could relatively quickly be reactivated.

Who is who

Official contact with respect to mining and historical mining in Switzerland: The Swiss Geotechnical Commission (SGTK) has at their disposal the research material of the Büro für Bergbau; the Geological Information Center of the Swiss Geological Survey manages the relevant records. In addition, there are various local and regional professional associations and societies in the field of historical mining.

ETH Zürich
NO F 35
Sonneggstrasse 5
CH-8092 Zürich

Tel. + 41 44 632 37 28
Fax + 41 44 632 12 70

The SGTK collects information and documentary evidence of historical mining activities in Switzerland – including the document collection of the “Büro für Bergbau”.

Seftigenstrasse 264
CH-3084 Wabern

Tel. +41 31 963 25 68
Fax +41 31 963 25 45

The Geological Information Center manages the extensive set of records of the “Büro für Bergbau”.


Naturhistorisches Museum
Augustinergasse 2
CH-4001 Basel

Tel. +41 61 266 55 86
Fax +41 61 266 55 46

Founded in 1979, the SGTK distributes information and publications on historical mining in Switzerland; mining engineering, mineral processing and smelting. Many historical mining links are listed on this website.

St. Gallerstrasse 72
CH-7320 Sargans

Tel. +41 81 723 12 17
Fax +41 81 723 04 92

Postfach 870
CH-8810 Horgen

Tel. +41 44 725 39 35

Postfach 102
CH-8914 Aeugst

Tel. +41 44 632 37 28

Via Pradè 24
CH-7505 Celerina

Tel. +41 81 833 45 82

CH-7270 Davos Platz 1

Tel. +41 81 413 76 03
Fax +41 81 413 77 54

Mines de Sel des Alpes
Route des Mines de Sel
CP 277
CH-1880 Bex

Tel. +41 24 463 03 30


The Swiss Geotechnical Commission (SGTK) publishes documentation, reports, databases and maps on mineralization in Switzerland. Other publications are issued by professional associations and societies.

Swiss Geotechnical Commission (SGTK)

These products are to be ordered from the SGTK shop 

Freunde des Bergbaus in Graubünden

Schweizerische Gesellschaft für historische Bergbauforschung (SGHB)

  • Summary of contents of the gazette "Minaria"
  • Available from the SGTK 


The Geological Data Viewer and the Atlas of Switzerland provide map-based representations on ore occurrences in Switzerland:


The collection from the “Büro für Bergbau - Der schweizerische Bergbau während des ersten und zweiten Weltkrieges“ includes about 500 hand specimens relating to the topic of mineralization. The SGTK maintains the collection which can be viewed by prior appointment.

Excerpt from the geological map of the lignite region of Gondiswil-Zell of 1923.

More information at the SGTK

Mineral Resources

ETH Zurich Department of Earth Sciences
Georesources Switzerland Group
NO F35
Sonneggstrasse 5
CH-8092 Zurich
+41 44 632 37 28


Print contact

Quarries 1965 / 1915