Archive | Global Mining History

Mining’s Bohemian boomtown: The tiny mining town of Joachimsthal was an inspiration for many famous scientists – by Cecilia Keating (CIM Magazine – December 04, 2017)

http://magazine.cim.org/en/

Despite its low profile today, Jáchymov, a small spa town in the mountains of Bohemia in northwest Czech Republic, has an illustrious history. For more than four centuries, its mines were central to scientific discoveries made, and research done, by Georgius Agricola, Marie Curie and J. Robert Oppenheimer, including the discoveries of several minerals and elements.

Rich silver deposits were discovered in the town in 1512 and over the ensuing decades thousands arrived to exploit them, with the town’s population jumping to 18,200 in 1534, up from 5,000 in 1520. It was christened Joachimsthal (meaning “St. Joachim’s Valley”) in 1520 by its rich owners, the Counts of Schlick.

The Schlicks quickly became one of Europe’s richest families, and started minting coins out of the area’s silver called thaler – the origin of the word dollar. Coins were shipped to Leipzig, an important trading hub, and were accepted across Europe. Continue Reading →

Memorial to hundreds killed in England’s biggest mining disaster (Yorkshire Post – May 7, 2017)

http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/

THE explosion made the ground shake for miles around, and flames erupted from 300 yards below. All around Barnsley – it was just before Christmas – “black snow” and burning wood fell out of the sky.

The apocalyptic scenes of December 1866 claimed 361 lives in England’s worst coal-mining disaster. The Oaks Colliery Disaster, which wrought so much devastation, was remembered yesterday as over a thousand people joined a huge procession, which bought the town to a standstill, for the unveiling of a new memorial.

In a poignant connection with the past, a steam buzzer, used to alert people of a disaster, was sounded before 20 descendants – including a Texan Sir William Jeffock, who bought his family across from the US – stepped forward to unveil the sculpture.  Its centrepiece is “Kitty” whose eyes are fixed directly on the colliery, as her child clings terrified to her shawl. Continue Reading →