The history of mining in Wörgetal
The miners must have welcomed it with cheers: Around 1625 a type of black powder appeared, which should facilitate their work in a truly exceptional way. In the tunnel of Wörgetal its history started already in 1637 as this "black powder" was already used by then. The heyday of mining in the Kühtai Alps was in the 17th century.
The ore in the belly of the mountain
The approximately 40 meter high vein in the belly of "Schwarze Wand" (black rock wall) was vertical and contained galena, chalcopyrite and pyrite. The access to the vein of ore was made roughly in its central part. First the miners dug upwards, then they continued working downwards. Up to 450 miners worked in the belly of the mountain - as tradition reports. The processing plant with stamp mill was located at Lake Puchersee, where it was possible to take advantage of hydroelectric power: here the ore was crushed, which was first chiseled out of the mountain at an altitude of about 2500 m. The smelting of the ore, already separated from quartz material and waste rock, took place in Oetz next to the mouth of Auer Klamm ravine in the so-called "Teufelsschmiede" (devil's smithy).
Today, the tunnel is no longer accessible, entry to the mine is strictly PROHIBITED! Therefore the entrance is blocked with a massive steel lattice door. In front of the entrance to the mine, however, hikers repeatedly find slag originating probably from a tool smithy where the tools of the miners were reworked again and again.
Historical documents on mining in Wörgetal
An old loan book of Hall's mountain judge - Ötztal was at least temporarily subject to its laws - contained the following information about mining in Wörgetal:
"Ötztal in 1637, the 12th day of March. Respectable Hans Portner, Michel Teixlpacher and Adam Hasslmayr received an old building in a secluded setting, located on a ridge in Ötztal, according to reports of Peter Achtzechner zu Aschland who no longer knows the old name. We call it "Zu Unserer Frau Verkündigung" (Our Lady's Annunciation). This license is given to the above mentioned in line with their rights and righteousness according to the mining rules - it is given to them from today on until the next day of St. George. "
Furthermore: "Wörgetal valley in the Silzer Küh Alps. In 1644, on the first day of September. Respectable Abraham Schwarz, Niklaus Mages, Stefan Höpperger and Hans Goldstein receive from the Imst Court a new mining license in an open field, located in the Petersberg Court area in Wörgetal valley in the Silzer Küh Alps. We call it St. Vortmee. This license is given to the above mentioned in line with all rights and righteousness according to the mining rules."
"In 1645, on the 9th of February. Respectable Blasius Angermann, coppersmith from Silz, receives a new mining license, it lies in Wörgetal on the left side towards Mittertal. We call it St. Mathias. This area is lent according to the local mining rules."
"In 1645, 26 April. On this day, honorable Blasius Angermann, coppersmith from Silz, receives a new mining license, it lies in Wörgetal on the left side towards Mittertal (north-facing). The site was previously named St. Peter. This (name) will remain. This license is given to the above mentioned in line with all rights and righteousness according to the mining rules.“
In the picture: The dilapidated entrance of the former mine at 2500 m above sea level. The wooden sleepers are still visible, here the mining car rolled outside into the open air.
The Miners Trail is a joint EU project presented by:
Regional Development Bezirk Imst, LEADER +, Bergbahnen Oetz Mountain Lifts, Bergbahnen Kühtai Mountain Lifts, Ötztal Tourismus, Innsbruck Tourismus and its Holiday Villages, Oetz Municipality, Sautens Municipality, Haiming Municipality, Silz Municipality, Silzer Alpen Agricultural Association, Mittergrathütte.
The Miners Trail is supported by the EU structural funding program LEADER + and the Federal State of Tirol.