This is an old mine built in the 1920’s. Technically it isn’t abandoned. But it is interesting enough to be featured in my blog.
In 1908 a bay in Rääkkylä, Northern Karelia, was being made deeper. They found a large rock rich with copper, so they started searching the area for the vein. They found it from the municipality of Kuusjärvi in 1910. It was 4 kilometres long, 400 metres wide and 40 metres high.
The hill, where they found the vein, was called Outokumpu (Strange Hill). The first proper mine was built in the 1920’s and a new mining area was built in the 1930’s. In the 1950’s yet a further new mine was opened in the other end of the vein. That was when this original 1920’s mine was closed. In the 1960’s the rural Kuusjärvi municipality became the town of Outokumpu.
For a reason or another, the old mine wasn’t demolished. In 1982 a mining museum was opened in the old laundry building. In 1985 some old tunnels were opened for the public. Since then the area has served as a tourist attraction.
I visited the mine for the first time in 1997 or 1998. Back then there was a karting track on the field, I think. I wanted a ride on a Jeep, but found driving too frightening to actually test the top speeds. So a staff member drove me around.
In addition to the mining museum, the area has found other new uses. The high school of Outokumpu is in this building.
The museum is open only during daytime, but the area is accessible 24/7. It wasn’t open when we got there, so we just did a quick walkaround.
The buildings are spectacular. And it’s a really wonderful thing, that they have lasted for this long.
A part of me would like to walk those corridors. I’m however extremely afraid of heights.
But now when I think of it, I don’t think that the corridors were made for people. They were for the ore to move.
If I have interpreted the map of the mine correctly, this is the old enrichment plant.
There’s also some old mining machinery on display in the area.
The old elevator tower, which served as a ventilation shaft until 1989, when…
Oh well, we’ll get to that later.
An old train used to transport ore in the mine.
Like I said, this mine was closed in 1954, when a new, larger area was opened in the other end of the vein. The history of that area is covered in the next post.