Erzweg Zinkwand


Useful Information

Location: South of Schladming. From Schladming/Rohrmoos through the Obertal to the Eschachalm, park car. Walk along the red marked trail to the Keinprechthütte, two hours. Marked trail to the mine another 1.5 hours. Mine visit 30min. Same way back 2.5 hours.
Open: no restriction, except weather. [2007]
Fee: Mine free. Fee for guide. [2007]
Classification: ExplainSilver Mine ExplainCobalt Mine
Light: none, bring own.
Dimension:  
Guided tours: L=300m. Mine: D=30min. Trail: 6-7h.
Photography:  
Accessibility:  
Bibliography:  
Address: Erzweg Zinkwand, Walter Hoffmann, Taurachweg 110, 5580 Tamsweg, Tel.: 06474-2296
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

1304 Schladming receives the Freiheitsbrief.
1322 Schladming becomes city.
1408 Schladminger Bergbrief.
1525 Schladming destroyed during the Bauernkriege (Farmers Wars).
16th cty end of mining in many areas of Austria.
17th cty cobalt mining at the Zinkwand famous all over Europe.
1746 Firma Schütz receives the right to mine cobalt.
1767 Peter Paul Strobl gets the right to mine cobalt.
1767 Schladminger Berggericht (miners .
1810-1814 Johann von Eyselsberg buys all mines.
1816 problems to sell the production, low prices.
1818 mine closed.
1832 mine bought by Johann Rudolf Ritter von Gersdorff.
1849 owner dies, his son is not able to manage it and the mine is sold to Rudolf Lechner.
1870 mine closed.
World War I mine rectivated.
1927 mine finally closed.

Description

The Erzweg Zinkwand (ore trail zinc mountain) is as the name sais a trail. This trail is very dangerous, this is not a road, it is an alpine trail which requires physical fitness, some climbing knowledge and sufficient equipment. The trail is equipped with a steel rope, it is a socalled via ferrata. We recommend very much to get a guide.

The historic mine is located in the middle of a vertical wall. It is safe, but only basically developed. There is no electric light, so bring enough torches with you, we suggest at least two per person. Helmets are a good idea too.

The Zinkwand was not a zinc mine, originally mainly silver was mined, but after the silver was mined out or the price was too low, cobalt became an important metal. Cobalt was used to produce blue colour (cobalt blue) which was used to colour many things, especially porcellain. The cobalt of the Schladming area was used in a nearby porcellain factory, in the glas industry and for the creation of frescoes.

Later demands changed again, and during the 19th century nickel was mined. The new owner Johann Rudolf Ritter von Gersdorff had a nickel furnace at Gloggniz am Semmering. But after rich nickel ore discoveries it was relocated to Mandling, at the border between Steiermark and Salzburg. The mined ore was called Rotnickelkies and contained 11.5% nickel, 1% cobalt and copper. The nickel oxide in the ore was reduced by by heating it with coal. The end of nickel mining was the discovery of rich nickel ore in New Caledonia.

The remote location made production dangerous and expensive. Miners were living below the cliff face, the ore had to be tranported downhill very far. On the other side there were different rich ore, so the mine produced enough ore to be profitable for many centuries.

Today the mine is called a Schaustollen, but it is not a show mine with guides. One almost horizontal tunnel was develeoped and is now safe. It goes right through the mountain. Many mountaineers use this route to cross the mountain, an the tunnel has become very popular. Still the trail to the tunnel and the tunnel itself are difficult, need good preparation and physical fitness.