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Berghaugen – the history of the sulfur and copper works at Ytterøy

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The historical site Berghaugen on Ytterøy has a fascinating history related to sulfur and copper mining. Ytterøy’s history spans 5,000 years, and it also has a rich mining heritage dating back to 1630 and can be experienced at Berghaugen, a short walk from the Hokstad ferry port. Information boards along the trail provide insights into the mining area.

Copper mines
The mining activity with copper mines on Ytterøy dates back to the early 1500s, making these mines the oldest in the country. The copper and copper pyrite (kopperkis) mines operated intermittently until 1861. The market for sulfur pyrite (svovelkis) was substantial, and shipping pyrite to England became a significant enterprise.

Peak Production
In the peak year of 1867455 workers were employed in the mines, contributing to 20-30% of the world’s pyrite production. Mining operations ceased before World War I (1912), but we can still see clear traces of it in the form of furnaces, shafts, and mine entrances. Operations at the limestone quarries lasted until around 1970.

Limestone Mining
Ytterøya’s geology reveals a significant limestone deposit east of Sandstadkammen. Although several limestone fields are registered in Innherred, only a few are economically viable. For centuries, mining activities on Ytterøy included both copper ore and sulfur pyrite extraction. The extraction of sulfur pyrite was particularly extensive in the latter half of the 1800s, but it came to an end in 1912.

Interest in limestone began as early as 1892, and the Lønvik farm sold rights to exploit a limestone field. Eventually, more stakeholders became involved, but Meraker Smelting Plant ultimately purchased the limestone deposit. Operations at the Lønvik field commenced in 1918 with a 700-meter-long cable car down to the sea and onto a long loading dock in Naustbukta. The work was demanding and challenging for the workforce - and certainly not without risks to life and health.

At that time, the limestone field was the only industry in the agricultural community of Ytterøy, employing up to thirty men, most of whom came from the many small farms, providing them with a steady income. Many of them had a very long commute to the field, and overnight accommodations were established. A new limestone field was opened during the war; the Sandstad field. A monumental loading dock with concrete silos was built into the mountain towards Norviksundet.

However, limestone mining ceased in 1970, after 1.4 million tons of limestone had been extracted from the fields, and the operation had existed for 52 years.

Guided Tours
If you’re interested in learning more about Ytterøy’s mining history, guided tours are available.

Last updated: 04/02/2024

Source: Innherred Reiseliv

Berghaugen – the history of the sulfur and copper works at Ytterøy

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