In Bogen in Ofoten you can still find many visible traces of the extensive mining operations at Ånes, Strandvatnet, Slaggen, Bergvik, Øvre Kleima and Nedre Kleiva. The ironworks was operated by various owners in the period from 1905 to 1939. As many as five different companies from four nations tried to mine the iron deposits in Bogen.
The first of the companies to try their hand at mining in Bogen was the Swedish AB Ofotens Malmfält. The company was granted a sharpening permit in the autumn of 1904 and began open-pit mines in Bergvik in 1905.
The raw ore consisted of magnetite with iron content of 27-30%. Separation/processing plants were built to supply ore concentrate with a higher iron content. Both the works and the shipping quay were completed at Ånes in 1905. The following year, the track between Bergvik and Ånes was put into use. Production of iron ore concentrate was underway.
Ofotens Malmfält AB managed to operate until 1909, but then the business was closed until 1912. At that time, the mining rights were leased to The West Fjord Iron Ore Company Ltd. The English improved the plant with a new crushing and separation plant, a power plant at Strandvannet and an open-pit mine in Kleiva.
Two narrow-gauge steam locomotives, Kven-Marja and Othelie which were to take over for the horses to transport ore from the quarries to crushing and separation. A 1.8 km long cable car was also built to transport ore from Øve Kleiva and Helgevasshaugen to the separation plant and a cable car to transport the iron concentrate out in the ore boats.
When World War I broke out, mining in Bogen was again stopped, and after the war the plant reverted to the Swedish owners and was closed down until 1917. In 1917, Beer, Sondheimer & Co from Frankfurt became a shareholder, expanding and investing in the operation. Two years later the economic situation changed and in 1920 operations were shut down.
In 1929, Bon-Drefta started. The workers themselves established A/S Ofoten Malmfelters Drift and rented the mining facility for a nominal sum. Everything they produced was to be sold to Beer, Sondheimer & Co, and the workers took out only 80% of their wages until the operation came into balance. In 1932 mining in Bogen stopped once again.
In 1936, the last operational period started when A/S Sydvaranger established the subsidiary A/S Ofoten Jernmalmgruber and bought the mining facility from the German owners. Although the start-up was characterised by optimism, it was not long before it came to an end again in 1939, and this time it was to be for good.
Cultural trail in Bogen
Work has long been underway to sign a cultural trail along the tracks of the railway in Bogen. Nine signs were put in place and the cultural trail was officially opened on September 1st, 2023.
Listen to the podcast about the cultural trail in Bogen
In this episode of Expedited, we hear the culture and public health coordinator in Evenes municipality, Unn Kristin Laberg, talk about the ironworks operations in Bogen and the use of cultural heritage in a public health perspective. Only in Norwegian.