Rangabotnur, between Hvalba and Trongisvágur, Suðuroy island.
After appointment with Visit Suðuroy.
no fixed fees, depends.
|Light:||carbide lamp provided (really!)|
|Guided tours:||individual, guided by miner|
Visit Suðuroy Tvøroyri,j 37 Tvørávegur, 800 Tvøroyri, Tel: +298-611080.
Tourist Information in Hvalba, Tel: +298-237575.
|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.
|17th cty||first coal mining.|
|1770s||first mining at Hvalba.|
|19th cty||first coal mining at Rangabotnur.|
|1954||coal mines provided coal for about 75% of households in the Faroe Islands.|
|late 1970s||miones closed, coal replaced by oil.|
|2010||mine near Hvalba closed, mining relocated to Rangabotnur.|
The basalt layers were formed by the mid-Atlantic ridge, while Faroer was still located close to the ridge some 55Ma ago. Once there was a rather long period without eruptions, and the basaltic lava flow was covered by a lush sub tropical vegetation. The sediments rich in organic matter were covered by the next lava flow and over time became coal. The layer is up to 15 m thick.
Suðuroy is the only island in the Faroe Islands where coal can be found. Coal mining started in the 17th century, as an additional fuel for household usage, at leat partly replacing peat. In the early 20st century the mines provided coal for about 75% of households in the Faroe Islands. But it was not exported, British coal was cheaper. FInally the mining almost subsided in the late 70s, when oil replaced the coal for most uses.
It can be used for heating and cooking, but as boats and cars do not work with coal the use is quite limited. Nevertheless there are still a few locals mining coal for domestic use. Until the 2010s there was a small mine near Hvalba, but it was eaxhausted and was abandoned. Now the mining happens at Rangabotnur west of Trongisvágur. There is a single lane gravel road to the mine from the road between Hvalba and Trongisvágur. As this is a working mine, not a show mine, the visits are organised by Visit Suðuroy, and the miners take a small break from their work and show you their workplace. Quite exceptional!