Mines of Miedziana Góra

In Miedziana Góra village, situated in the Góry Świętokrzyskie (Holy Cross Mts), Central Poland, was the largest copper ore mine active during the Kingdom of Poland. The ore deposit is related to fault zone between anticline formed of the Lower Devonian silico-argillaceous rocks (sandstones, siltstones, clays) and syncline formed of the Upper Devonian carbonate rocks: The tectonic zone is filled with varicoloured clays with disseminated sulphides, mainly pyrite, chalcopyrite and sphalerite with less amount of galena. But only upper, cementation and weathering zone of the deposit was mined. It is abundant with accumulations of secondary copper minerals (chalcosine, tenorite, malachite), sphalerite, galmei and iron oxides. In the Ławęczna hill, situated 1.5 km to the west of Miedziana Góra, iron ore of the weathering zone of the same deposit was mined.

The copper ore of Miedziana Góra was discovered between 1590 and 1592 and excavated in the first half of 17th century. The second period of mine activity lasting from 1782 to 1827 is related to the political and economical reforms carried into effect in the last years of the Polish Kingdom and then the development of industry at the beginning of 19th century. The last trials of mining were undertaken during the First World War and first years of independency of Poland (1915-1925) and then in the middle of 20th century. In 1970 comprehensive geological investigations of the ore zone were completed.

Despite locally good quality of the ore, the historical mining was difficult and often not profitable because of irregularity of the ore body as well as properties of the clays (their plasticity) and strong water inflows when the mine galleries reached limestone. These have been the reasons that Miedziana Góra and Ławęczna mines were active only periodically and were abandoned finally.

The mines in Miedziana Góra and Ławęczna are documented by numerous historical sources: reports and inventories, letters, mine maps, old geological descriptions. The map of the Miedziana Góra mine made in 1782 is one of the oldest Polish mine map. Other evidences of the historical mining are represented by dumps and artificial depressions in the places of shafts. Several types of these surface remnants are distinguished and reffered to different periods and techniques of mining. Many of them can be identified with the particular shafts active in these periods, due to existence of the old maps. Thus they represent relics of historical technique of great value.

Comparison of the detailed map of the surface remnants made in 1977 with present-day state of them enables estimation of their changes caused by development of the village in the last thirty years. Some ways of conservation of the relics have been proposed. Remnants of two shafts are legally protected as monument of nature. Legal protection of other relics in Miedziana Góra and Ławęczna is planned in natural-landscape complex, nature reserve or documentation sites and historical monuments.