Of several mining companies founded in Ballangen, no one can measure up to Bjørkaasen Gruber. Aktieselskap Bjørkaasen Gruber was established on 21 January 1913 and operated pyrite.
The sulfur ore deposit in Bjørkaasen was discovered by chance; under the root of an overturned tree, the shepherd boy Hans Martinussen Skjåfjell found some gold-shining crystals. It turned out to be pyrite. Sulfur or pyrite is a yellow and shiny mineral that is often called fool’s gold.
Den industrielle revolusjonen førte til økt etterspørsel etter mineraler og metaller til industrien. Berggrunnen i Ofoten skjuler mange skatter, og det var en voldsom leting etter mineraler i området. Bare i Ballangen regner man med at det ble lagd omkring 600 skjerp, eller testgruver, i denne perioden.
The industrial revolution led to an increase in the demand for minerals and metals for industry. The bedrock in Ofoten hides many treasures, and there was a fierce search for minerals in the area. In Ballangen alone, it is estimated that about 600 test mines, were made during this period.
Bjørkaasen Gruber built a laundry, mechanical workshop, carpentry workshop, power station, homes and office buildings. In Ballangen, a community grew up around the mining industry with cultural elements such as Bjørkaasen horn music, Ballangen Male Choir, sports teams, etc.
The administration building of Bjørkaasen Gruber, which today houses the Ballangen Museum.
On February 29, 1964, it was over for Bjørkaasen Gruber, after almost 50 years of operation.
Martinstollen in 2018. The entrance to the mine is still intact, but is not open to the public.