Schneeberg Passeier

Miniera d'avventura Monteneve


Useful Information

Location: Passeier valley, Timmelsjoch road.
The Timmelsjoch road is reached either from Imst or from Meran. There are several routes from the road to the Schneeberg, e.g. Schneeberg Brücke parking lot, Gasthof Schönau, or Gostalm.
(46.899175, 11.181564)
Open: Exploring the mining area: Mid-JUN to mid-OCT daily 9:15.
Adventure Schneeberg: Mid-JUN to mid-OCT daily 8:30.
Booking until previous day 16 mandatory.
[2022]
Fee: Exploring the mining area: Adults EUR 22, Children (0-16) EUR 18, Students (-27) EUR 18, Disabled EUR 18, Seniors (65+) EUR 18, Family (2+*) EUR 45.
Groups (12+): Adults EUR 18, School Pupils EUR 12.
Adventure Schneeberg: Adults EUR 30, Children (7-16) EUR 15, Students (-27) EUR 22, Disabled EUR 22, Seniors (65+) EUR 22.
[2022]
Classification: MineCopper Mine MineLead Mine MineSilver Mine
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension:  
Guided tours: Exploring the mining area: D=7h.
Adventure Schneeberg: D=10h, VR=1,100 m, Min=8.
V=42,500/a [2008]
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:  
Address: Landesmuseum Bergbau, Standort Schneeberg, Tel: +39-348-3100443. 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

24. Dezember 1237 first written mention of the mine by the notary Jacob Haas from Bozen.
16-JUN-1967 Obere Knappenkaue burns down.
DEC-1979 Schneeberg mine closed.
1985 end of mining at lower level.
1989 mine finally closed after cleanup works completed.
2016 Akademisches Lehrbergwerk (Academic Educational Mine) opened, museum restructured.

Geology

The ore veins in the area contain galena, zinc blende, and chalcopyrite, with a certain amount of silver. The ores are sulfur based and thus have a heavy sulfur smell when hit with a hammer. The area is above the tree line and due to the reduced vegetation the ore veins are rather easy to find. The ores are also heavier than normal rocks, and they look often rusted, due to the oxidation of iron content. So it was quite simple to discover the ores in ancient times. Ores mined at the surface had a rather high silver content, as the weathering caused the accumulation of silver close to the surface. If the ore was mined though, the amount of silver diminished quite fast. The ores inside the mountain had a silver content which was not high enough for the medieval smelting techniques.

Description

Schneeberg is a pass between Passeier valley and Ridnaun valley (Ridanna). On top of the pass on the Schneeberg plateau one of the highest mines in Europe is located at 2,355 m asl. Abandoned in 1967 it was restored and is now open as an open air museum with exhibition and various trails. There is no road to the pass, the road connection between Passeier valley and Ridnaun valley is the nearby Jaufenpass. There are obviously two possibilities to reach this mine, either by walking from Ridnaun valley or from Passeier valley. As the mining operations are located on the Passeier side of the pass, they are often called Schneeberg Passeier. Some years ago the tours into the mine were organized by the lodge, but in 2019 the museum was reorganized. Now the only way to visit the mine by guided tour from Ridnaun or Passeier is organized by the Landesmuseum Bergbau. However, the exhibition and the walking trails are open without restrictions and for free, so you can make the visit self guided too.

The miners' settlement of St. Martin was abandoned when the mine closed in 1967, but many buildings still exist. There is a modern mountaineering lodge (Hütte, Rifugio) named Schneeberg and nearby in the former Neue Schmiede (new smithy) is an exhibition. It is centered on the everyday life of the miners, illustrated by objects belonging to the former villagers, documents and mining tools. There are also educational trails across the slag heaps to sealed-off gallery mouths and heavy equipment from the last excavation phase, which was simply left behind.

The age of the mine is unknown, the first written mention was in 1237. Actually a silver ingots from the Schneeberg were used as a sort of coins at that time, however, with a weight of 623,5 gramm pure silver they had a rather high value. But the point is: if they were so well known that they were used as money, the mine had already been in operation for some time producing high quality silver. Probably there was prehistoric mining, at least in very small quantities. The early Medieval mining processed the copper and lead/silver ore mostly on site. The silver was then transported to Meran where a part was coined. The furnaces needed a lot of charcoal and as a result soon all trees were cut in a wide surrounding area and the transport to the mine became unprofitable. The ore was then transported into the valley on sleds made of leather, four or five of them containing 56 kg of ore each were connected to a Sackzug (sack train). In the forested parts of the valley charcoal piles and smelters were opened.

The end of the mining was a result of diminishing profitability. Nevertheless, the fire which destroyed the Obere Knappenkaue, with the living quarters of the miners, the kitchen, the shop, the dining room, the bathrooms, the recreation room, and the compressor room, abruptly ended the mining town. As a result the miners were relocated to the new living quarters in Maiern. Mining continued for one more decade until the mining at Schneeberg was finally stopped in 1979. The mining continued at a lower level until 1985 and after some cleanup works the mine was finally closed in 1989.

There are two tours offered at the Schneeberg. Exploring the mining area is a full-day walking tour with a guide starting from Schneeberger Brücke car park on the Timmelsjochstrasse. It includes the walk up and down, the round trip through the miners' village of St. Martin and the visit to the exhibition. The Adventure Schneeberg is even more strenuous and definitely requires physical fitness. It includes the first tour, but after visiting the exhibition, the Schneebergscharte pass is crossed and on the other side descended to Poschhaus mine. This mine tour includes a visit to the mine with a miner train, visiting the tunnel from the 1970s and the historic mine tunnel from 1790.