Kultahaveri’s Freetime

…when own time is its’ weight in gold

18th and 19th centuries: ‘Impurities’ cause problems

The rich history of Haveri and its gold mine is known also outside the borders of Finland. The first documented references to Haveri mine date back all the way to 1726. Back then, iron ore was produced by small-scale open mining. Removal of impurities did not take place due to lack of knowledge. The activities died off by the turn of the century.

Haveri can be said to have affected the development of the City of Tampere in the 19th century, since the smelting house that was established in Tammerkoski in 1843 received most of its ore from Haveri. In 1850’s Haveri had many pits, the deepest ones being over 30 metres deep. The ore was lifted with horses, which also were the means of transportation. The workforce in the mine numbered a few dozen. Impurities still resulted in problems and the activities faded away for another 70 years.

20th century: Oy Vuoksenniska Ab

The most important phase in the history of Haveri began in 1935, when Oy Vuoksenniska Ab got interested in the ore deposits of the area. Professor Hans Hausen sold the mining rights for Haveri to Oy Vuoksenniska Ab:lle for a second-hand car. As further research was carried out, the ‘impurities’ of past years were discovered to be gold and silver.

Erik Aminoff was appointed the leader of the mine. He had earned a reputation in several mines in e.g. USA, Siberia, Manchuria, China and the Philippines. Aminoff lead the mine until 1952 and became to be known as the Baron of Haveri. Building of new production facilities began in 1939 in the shadow of the war. Test mine shaft was quarried as deep as 65 metres, and research tunnels were centred at a depth of around 50 metres. 120 metres deep production shaft was completed in 1942, and working levels were opened at depths of 50 and 100 metres. In addition, ore was still extracted from the 85 metres deep and 125 metres wide open pit, which is still visible. Tunnels in Haveri in 1942-1960 extended for a total length of about 2.5 km.

The mine used also Soviet prisoners of war as labour force, although their conditions on the mine were remarkably better than in the prison camps. During the war the mine produced strategically important copper about 180 tonnes annually, although gold remained the principal product of the mine. During its about 20 active years Haveri gold mine produced enough gold to supply the whole of Finland and a little more. Extraction amounted to about 1 kg of pure gold a day.

Especially proud the Haveri people are of the fact that the gold medals of the 1952 Helsinki Olympics were made out of Haveri gold. Those medals still hold the record for being most rich in gold in their kind.

A community developed around the personnel of the mine: the houses of the working class, Piippulanrivi, were built closest to the mine, and the houses of the leaders by the shore of the beautiful Lake Kyrösjärvi. Executives were housed in between these two extremes. When the mine was at its largest, 150 persons worked in the mine and the gold-village was home to several hundreds of people. Haveri was an active and functioning community with its own services and plenty of activities.

After the end of World War II the price of gold decreased and the Haveri mine had to struggle in the competed market. After different kinds of changes and novel ideas, the mine remained competitive and was able to continue its operations. It was eventually closed due to diminishing gold supplies in 1961. The latest mine survey carried out in 1998-1999 gathered a lot of publicity. Despite expectations, the research did not lead to re-launching of mining activities.

Turn of the millennium: Recreational service provisions

When the mining activities ended, the restaurant and educational activities began. In the 1980s nearly 30 high quality log cabins, a beach and a tennis court were built between the old quarry and Lake Kyrösjärvi. In the late 1990s a development project spreading over many years was initiated, increasing the quality of Haveri as a holiday destination. The renovation of the working-class houses in Piippulanrivi has for instance progressed very well. The mine buildings on the other hand remain in a relative bad condition.

The most impressive sight in Haveri is the rocky open pit of the gold mine. After the latest survey was completed, it has slowly been filling up with water. Viewpoints are planned in the area which is now surrounded by a protective fence.

Sources

Blomgren Christer (ed). 1999. Rautainen leipäpuu: muistoja ja muistelmia tehtailta ja kaivoksilta. Imatra Steel Oy Ab.
Lassila Pekka (ed.). Haverin kaivosmiljöö ja Viljakkala -information pack
Viljakkalan Haveri ry. 2001. Kultahippuja

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