THE STORY OF THE MINES
The story of the mines begins in 1881 when tenant farmer Gregorius Hansen Birkeland discovers zink, iron and copper ore in the ravine. In 1882 Saude Grubecompagni (Saude Mining Company) starts a mining operation with a workforce of 20 men. The company acquires external assistance both in terms of workers and knowledge about mining.
At the beginning the men carry everything on their backs, but the mining road was finished two years later, in 1884, and from then they use pack horses to carry the ore from Allmannajuvet and down to the fiord.
The price of zink is unstable in the world market, which results in poor earnings at times. Saude Grubecompagni sells the operation to England for £ 40,000 in 1888. The Norwegian Zink Co Ltd provides work for 87 men, and Arthur Lancelot Collins resides in his new stately director’s home in Sauda. The new owners go all in and in 1897 they have almost 200 people in employment.
The local people in Sauda are sceptical of the many new residents. The miners have their own separate area where they live . Moreover, this area is cut off from the Municipality of Sauda. The mining community have their own prison, where troublemakers can be cooped up, as there is a lot of drunken brawls on weekends.
In 1898, the mining operations take another bad turn and the number of workers is down to 44. The year after, in 1899, it is decided to close down the mining works entirely. The Allmannajuvet miners are left without work, and the buildings remain empty for as much as 40 years before they are sold in an auction.
In 2002, the road to Allmannajuvet becomes part of Norway’s National Tourist Routes. This is the beginning of the result we can see in Allmannajuvet today.
The world-famous Zumthor was commissioned by the Norwegian Public Roads Administration to design a facility that would communicate the mining histry of Sauda and make the old mines more attractive and accessible to visitors.
Zumthor’s designs were inspired by the history of Allmannajuvet; the mining operations, the hard work and everyday life of the miners. Zumthor himself describes the buildings as a monument to the miners who lived and died there. The architecture includes three modest buildings. The plain but spectacular buildings in the ravine have been designed inthe tradition of industrial architecture, and blend well into the landscape. They are meant to look as if they have been there forever: Built in the style and spirit of the mining industry.
We offer guided tours off season, for prebooked groups.
Price for guiding, groups:
1-5 persons NOK 1400,-
6-15 persons NOK 2700,-
16-30 persons NOK 4800,-
For larger groups, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or
by phone +47 – 52 78 42 00
Photo’s: Aldo Amoretti
Photo’s topslider: Andrew Meredith