|Location:||Mechernich/Euskirchen A1 Köln-Trier, exit Mechernich/Bad Münstereifel, B477 towards Mechernich, second roundabout turn left.|
All year Tue-Sat 14-16, Sun 11-16.
Adults EUR 5,50, Children (6-16) EUR 6, Children (0-5) not allowed, Family (2+1) EUR 13, additional Children EUR 2.
Groups (7+): Adults EUR 4,50, Children (6-16) EUR 3.
|Light:||Incandescent Electric Light System|
|Guided tours:||D=90 min.|
|Address:||Bergbaumuseum und Besucherbergwerk Grube Günnersdorf, Bleibergstraße 6, Mechernich, Tel: +49-2443-48697, Fax: +49-2443-8204. E-mail:|
|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.
|1394||first written mention.|
|15th cty||mining intensified.|
|1578||first Bergordnung (mining law).|
|1629||mining revived by the investment of three merchants.|
|1860-1910||heydays of the mining.|
|1928||mine subsidized because of the Great Depression.|
|01-JAN-1937||taken over by the Preussag.|
|1939||closed because of Wolrd War II.|
|1953||begin of production.|
|1957||Grube Günnersdorf closed.|
|MAY-1995||show mine opened to the public.|
The Mechernicher Bleiberg (lead mountain of Mechernich) is located at the northern rim of the Eifel, between the cities Mechernich in the northeast and Kall in the southwest. The deposit has a size of 11 km long, 1-2 km wide and about 30 m thick. Despite the low amount of metal in the raw ore below 2 %, this equals about 100 Million tons of lead. This is about 5% of the world supply and makes this deposit the most important lead deposit of Germany. Nevertheless, the price of lead on the world market is far too low to make mining profitable.
The deposit is a so-called epigenetic, secondary hydrothermal ore deposit. This means the ores originate from Devonian quartz dykes below the sandstones, which were formed by hydrothermal processes. By the regional volcanism the energy was provided to create convection cells and transport the ore once again. But this time the ore was deposited in the main Buntsandstein, a thick layer of porous sandstone from the lower Triassic. The ores were redeposited various times, which changed their chemistry, sulfides were oxidized and oxides were reduced. This rock has almost 40% of pores, so the lead ore was deposited in those pores and is now dispersed in the rock.
This form of ores is called Knotten (nodules), and the rock is called Knottensandstein. The nodules are between 1mm and 5mm in diameter, consisting of galena (PbS). They are often a combination of galena crystals with cerussite (PbCO3) crystals and some quartz grains from the sandstone.
The Bergbaumuseum und Besucherbergwerk Grube Günnersdorf is dedicated to the 2000 years of lead mining on the Mechernicher Bleiberg (Mechernich lead mountain). The mining museum informs about the lead mining the Mechernich and in the area. The mining has a long history beginning with Celts and Romans. The local geology is explained, the mining and ore processing techniques during the different mining eras are explained. The local Knottensandstein was a strange kind of ore, which required special techniques to process and refine the ore, which are a local specialty. The mining started open cast, but soon went underground.
There are theories the Celts started the mining in the area, after Celtic coins have been found in a shaft. But the remains from this time are sparse. Some more was found from Roman times, including the fragments of mining tools like troughs, lamps of pottery and lead, pipes made of clay, and the remains of canals with wooden walls.
Intensive mining started in the 15th century, with the invention called Beutelkorb. It was a simple but effective way to process the ore. It is actually simply a sieve, which works with the fact that the ore nodules have a bigger diameter than the grains of the sandstone. So they are held by the sieve of thin brass wire or withe. The sieve was held by a sturdy wooden frame, 30 cm x 45 cm in size, with a wooden handle. This simple tool was used until the second half of the 19th century. The mining was done with a hammer and a special chisel which was 8 cm wide and 25 cm long. The mined rock was crushed underground and sieved, then only the nodules were transported to the surface. The mine operator was a so-called Eigenlöhner (self-employment) who mined his tiny claim and paid taxes (the tenth) on his findings. At first the mining was completely unregulated except for the tax, later a Bergordnung (mining law) was made.
This mining era ended at the end of the 16th century. The mines had reached a certain depth which resulted in an increas of groundwater inside the mines. An adit, to transport the water out of the mine would have been necessary, but the self-employed miners did not have the necessary money. In 1629 the mining was revived by three merchants, Dietmar Rath, Bartholomäus Brüggen and Johann Meinertzhagen. They acquired the mining permission and started to build an adit in 1630. They soon reached the ores and the adit finally had a lenth of 1,750 m in 1650. Subsequently several other adits were built.
The heydays of the lead mining were between 1860 and 1910. Every miner produced 10 tons of ore daily and almost 4,500 people work for the mines. In the 1920s ore mining was in a crisis because of the Great Depression. From 1828 the Grube Günnersdorf was subsidized by the state, later it was taken over by the Preussag. But World War II stopped the mining and a power failure caused the flooding of the mine. It had to be renovated with much effort during the years 1947 to 1953. But only four years later it was closed again, after the price of lead on the world market had fallen substantially.
The show mine is well developed, but the trails are sandy. We recommend a warm jacket and sturdy shoes, helmets are provided.