Bastnäs mining fields. Rich mineral site.
Well sign posted.
To book a guided tour call
+46 (0)222-133 30.
Tourist office +46 (0)222-450 45.
Information: Skinnskatteberg tourism.
Minerals, Ore, Deposits, Forests, Paths, Ruins, Unique machinery
The formation of special cerium minerals in the relatively small iron-ore field at Bastnäs makes this one of the world’s richest mineral sites. The mines here were first mentioned in records dating back to 1692.
In 1803, two scientists, Wilhelm Hisinger (1766–1852), the owner of the Skinnskatteberg works, and Jöns Jacob Berzelius (1779–1848), a chemist, discovered two elements, cerium and lanthanum, in “Bastnäs tungsten”. Bastnäs is also a fertile site for six minerals: bastnasite, cerit, lanthanit, ortit, törnebohmi and linneit.
Scientists and collectors from all over the world add to their collections of minerals from this site. In 1875–88 some 4,500 tonnes of high-value cerium ore was mined here. During the Second World War, cerium was needed for military purposes and was taken out of the existing slag heaps.
In the early days, iron ore at the Stora Bastnäs mine was lifted by means of a horse-drawn winch but, after 1873, a draught engine and a system of hooks of the type invented by Christopher Polhem were used. By means of a water-driven reciprocating-action shaft (comprising poles lashed together to make a total shaft length of 2.5 km!), power was transmitted mechanically from the Haggruvan mine to a windlass. This mechanism is housed in a small, well-preserved building and is the only one in the world still in its original location. (Another that was moved from Grängesberg is now in the Ludvika mining museum.)
In 1922, a new gallery was excavated to inspect the ore that remained in the cerit mine. The gallery extended as far as the Knut shaft, in which the pithead hoist system operated. Located a little further west is Gamla Bastnässtollen, a gallery leading into the Kittel mine. The oldest part of the gallery (from the 18th century) was excavated in opencast mining, and has a rounded vault. On isolated occasions, it has been possible to view the gallery, but it is difficult to find the way to Bastnäst. Further details can be obtained from the Skinnskatteberg tourist office.