The first mining operation in Northern Norway started in Ballangen

Ballangen Museum

Ballangen • Ofoten

Ballangen was the first mining town in Northern Norway. Copper was mined around the year 1673 but it did not lead to any long-term mining activity – 10 years at most – but legend has it that the copper brought untold riches for a short period of time.

The story of Bal the Gruesome is still told, of the population being forced to work the mines. Bal’s tyranny ended in his bloodshed; he was dismembered by being drawn in four directions by 4 horses.

The Ballangen Museum presents us with an extensive exhibition about mining in the municipality ever since the 1600s. We travel through time with objects, texts and photos that document mining and prospecting operations in the municipality. The most extensive mining activity was carried out by Bjørkaasen Gruber AS, which starting explorations in 1911. The company employed approximately 450 people during its years of operations. Their primary ores they were after were sulphur and copper, at a depth of approximately 420 meters below the Martinstollen main shaft. The mines were in operation until 1964.

The museum also displays objects from fishing, agriculture, households, schools and the cultural life of the municipality.

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