|Guided tours:||D=90min, Min=4 persons.|
|Address:||Besucherbergwerk "Drei Kronen & Ehrt", Mühlental 13, 38875 Elbingerode.|
|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.
|10th cty||Beginning of mining at the Großer Graben (Great Ditch).|
|1293||The monks of Michaelstein Monastery receive the mining right in the Kalten Tal.|
|1582||Großer Graben first mentioned in a document.|
|1867-1871||Gräflicher Stollen excavated to drain the 40m deep pit.|
|1887||Oberer Mühlentalstollen excavated.|
|1890||Gräflicher Stollen renamed Fürstlicher Stollen.|
|1913||Meyersche Grubenfelder are taken over by the Harzer Werke AG zu Rübeland und Zorge.|
|1914||pit fields around the Großer Graben renamed Drei Kronen & Ehrt.|
|1937||reopening of Drei Kronen & Ehrt and sinking of the main shaft in preparation for war.|
|1940||start of pyrite mining.|
|18-APR-1945||pit shut down again.|
|1951||renaming of the Drei Kronen & Ehrt mine to VEB Schwefelkiesgrube Einheit.|
|1956||affiliation of the mine to the VEB Harzer Eisenerzgruben Hüttenrode.|
|1959||begin of the central shaft construction.|
|1990||foundation of the Harz-Bergbau GmbH.|
|31-JUL-1990||mining stopped due to unprofitability.|
|1990||non profit association for the transformation into a show mine founded by former miners.|
|1991||start of the restoration work by former miners within the framework of an ABM (unemployment subvention).|
|1993||mine taken over by the GVV Sondershausen.|
|01-JUL-1994||opened to the public as a show mine.|
|2009||"Förderverein Besucherbergwerk Drei Kronen & Ehrt e.V." decides to dissolve and dismiss all employees.|
|2010||managed by the newly founded town of Oberharz am Brocken, limited tours.|
|30-APR-2011||limited tours ended, start of numerous conversions and renovation works.|
|31-MAR-2012||reopened with four guided tours daily.|
|03-DEC-2012||defects in the electrical system, visitor traffic stopped for safety reasons.|
|19-OCT-2013||operations resumed with 3 staff members.|
|02-NOV-2015||lease not renewed by LMBV, show mine finally shut down.|
The hydrothermal mineralisation is bound to Devonian reef limestones of the Elbingerode complex. Hydrothermal mineralisations are always polymetallic, but here primarily iron ore was deposited. The main ore is pyrite (FeS2), but there is also some hematite and manganese. The pyrite was used mainly for the chemical industry, especially for the production of sulfuric acid.
The former show mine Drei Kronen und Ehrt has been closed since 2015. Since then, the underground equipment has been completely dismantled. This was followed by the safekeeping of the still accessible parts of the first level and the visitor mine in order to prevent the outflow of mining-influenced water from the mine workings. The closure and subsequent safekeeping is intended to avoid further costs for the federal government. In other words, the show mine no longer exists.
The large former iron ore and pyrite mine Drei Kronen und Ehrt is located on the B27 between Rübeland and Elbingerode. It is also known under the names Grube Himmelsfürst as well as Grube Einheit. However, as these names were often used, the place Elbingerode must be given to avoid confusion.
Mining began in the Groß Graben as early as the 10th century; the right to mine in the Cold Valley was granted to Michaelstein Monastery in 1293, that much is documented. However, this deposit was first mentioned in a document in 1582 under the name Großer Graben. Mining progressed, important expansions were the two solution tunnels Gräflicher Stollen (1867-1871) and Oberer Mühlentalstollen (1887). After the mine fields were taken over by the Harzer Werke AG zu Rübeland und Zorge in 1914, the mine was renamed Drei Kronen & Ehrt. However, mining ended in 1926, apparently the mining was no longer profitable. Nevertheless, it was reactivated twice for political reasons. The first time by the National Socialists, who reopened mines that made no economic sense in preparation for the Second World War. Mining did not start until 1940, after a new shaft had been sunk, and ended before the end of the district. But in the same year it was reactivated to meet the enormous demand for iron for the reconstruction. Due to its location in the former GDR, it was not affected by the steel crisis and continued to mine iron until reunification. The question of whether this made economic sense did not arise under real existing socialism.
With the economic union of east and west Germany, however, this ceased to be the case and the mine, like many others, was closed. At the same time, however, a group of miners formed a non-profit association to preserve the mine as a show mine. As part of a job creation scheme, the visitor mine was set up by former miners and the first guided tours took place as early as 1993. In 1994, the mine was finally officially opened and operated successfully for 15 years. In 2009, however, the "Förderverein Besucherbergwerk Drei Kronen & Ehrt e.V." decided to dissolve and dismiss all employees. The Harz region has 13 show mines in a very small area, and the declining number of visitors over the years and the high costs of operating the mine railway were causing problems. The newly founded town of Oberharz am Brocken took over the show mine for some time, and a limited number of guided tours was offered. After numerous alterations and renovation work, four guided tours a day are offered again in 2012. But in the same year, there were malfunctions in the electrical system and tours were suspended again for safety reasons. Again renovation work was carried out and the mine was reopened nine months later. But after two more years, the show mine was finally closed for good. The administrator, the Lausitzer und Mitteldeutsche Bergbau-Verwaltungsgesellschaft mbH (LMBV), which manages the old mines in central Germany on behalf of the Federal Republic of Germany, had refused the extension of the lease.