Besucherbergwerk „St.-Christoph“


Useful Information

Location: Breitenbrunn
Open: All year Tue-Fri 14, Sat, Sun, Hol 11.
[2022]
Fee: Adults (1 Person) EUR 20, Adults (2 Persons) EUR 8, Adults EUR 6, Children EUR 3.50.
[2022]
Classification: MineIron Mine MineTin Mine MineCopper Mine MineSulfur Mine arsenic
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: A=655 m asl.
Guided tours: D=1 h, L=1,200 m.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: Richard Beck (1904): Über die Erzlager der Umgebung von Schwarzenberg im Erzgebirge In: Jahrbuch für das Berg- und Hüttenwesen in Sachsen. 1904, S. A56–A96. Deutsch - German online
Karl Löwe (1929): Untersuchungen über die Aufbereitungsmöglichkeit der Erze von St. Christoph-Fundgrube in Breitenbrunn im sächsischen Erzgebirge In: Jahrbuch für das Berg- und Hüttenwesen in Sachsen. 1929, S. A37–A54. Deutsch - German online
F. Mädler (1992): Das Bergbaurevier von Breitenbrunn und Antonsthal im oberen Erzgebirge Lapis, Jg.17, Nr.10, S.13-24. Deutsch - German
Helmut-Juri Boeck (2019): Zum Kalkstein- und Marmorbergbau bei Schwarzenberg, Unbekannter Bergbau. Reihe 1: Kalkstein und Dolomit - Gewinnung und Verarbeitung in Sachsen, Band 6 (2019) Deutsch - German online
Address: Besucherbergwerk „St.-Christoph“, Schachtstraße 63, 08359 Breitenbrunn/Erzgebirge, Tel: +49-37756-79740. 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.

History

1558 first written mention of mine.
1567 mine opened.
1572 mine closed.
1665 mine opened.
1784 mine closed.
1800 mine opened.
1863 black, ferrous zinc blende named christophite by August Breithaupt after this mine.
1945 exploration for Uranium failed, mine finally closed.
1985 reconditioning and reconstruction work.

Geology

The St. Christoph Fundgrube was mining a 1 to 6 m thick skarn ore deposit, which extends over about 1.2 km in northwest-southeast direction. It was formed during the metamorphism of sedimentary rocks with intercalated limestone and dolomite layers, at high pressure and temperature. During this process, mica schist and gneiss were formed, in which dolomite marble is intercalated in layers. Due to the ascent of the Eibenstock granite pluton, the rock was heated and aqueous solutions metasomatically transformed the marble into garnet-pyroxene skarn. The skarn contains nest-like ore bodies and is intersected by ore veins.

The skarn typically contains the minerals magnetite, zinc blende, arsenical and arsenic pyrite, chalcopyrite and sulfur pyrite, in frequently changing amounts. The veins contain mainly tinstone, less frequently silver and uranium minerals. In addition, an extraordinary black, ferruginous zinc blende was found. This ore was named christophite by August Breithaupt in 1863 after this mine, so it has its type locality here.

Description

The St. Christoph Fundgrube (St. Christoph visitor mine) is located in the Saxon municipality of Breitenbrunn in the Westerzgebirge mountains. The gallery mouth is located on the slope of the Zechenhübel at 655 m above sea level. The adit runs about 330 m in an easterly direction and then swings to the northeast. About 500 m from the mouth hole it reaches the Schlägelschacht shaft, the actual ore deposit is reached after another 120 m.

Mining here did not begin with individual miners mining their personal vein. After the ore was discovered, Hans Müller von Berneck acquired the mining rights and the permission to build the necessary processing facilities. He opened the mine in 1558. With his sons he built a smelting furnace, a vitriol smelter and a sulfur smelter in 1569. In 1593 the plant was extended by an iron hammer in Breitenhof to process the ores. A settlement with about 100 inhabitants arose, who lived from mining.

The mine was closed several times for longer periods. This was due to historical events such as wars, but also lack of profitability, the strongly changing ore quality, and water intrusions. The St. Christoph Stolln is an MineAdit, which means it transports water out of the mine just by gravitation, without the need of pumping. The drawback of such a tunnel is the cost and the long time required to build it. So this tunnel is much younger than the mine, but its age is unknown. It existed in for some time in 1860, because in this year the renovation and addition of railroad tracks between 1858 and 1862 was mentioned in the Yearbook.

The last period of operation began in 1937 and was politically motivated. The Third Reich tried to achieve self-sufficiency and so Sachsenerz Bergwerks GmbH reopened the mine. With the end of the war, mining also ended. Subsequently, the mine was examined for uranium by Wismut AG, but unsuccessfully, and so mining was finally shut down.

In the early 1980s, interest in historical mining increased, and so in 1983 the Knappschaft Breitenbrunn (Breitenbrunn Miners' Association) was founded and work began on developing the St. Christoph Fundgrube. However, this took time; after all, the work was done by volunteers, and the upheavals of reunification delayed it further. But finally, in September 2000, the mine was opened as a show mine. The underground tour lasts about 90 minutes and about 1.2 km of the mine is explored. The highlights are colored sinter formations of copper, arsenic, iron and zinc ores.