Mines & 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

Summary

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 Georesources Switzerland Group and various national and regional societies and organizations deal with research and documentation of historical mining. 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.
© SGTK

Who is who

Official contact with respect to mining and historical mining in Switzerland: The Georesources Switzerland Group has at their disposal the research material of the Büro für Bergbau; 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.

Data

Documentation, reports, databases and maps on mineralization in Switzerland are issued by professional associations and societies.

Publications

Schweizerische Gesellschaft für historische Bergbauforschung (SGHB)

  • Summary of contents of the gazette "Minaria"

Geodata


Mineral Resources

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

E-Mail


Print contact

Quarries 1965 / 1915