Carbon Mine Ferden



Mine Ferden auf einer grösseren Karte anzeigen

First descriptions of the coal deposit in Ferden are from 1893. Probably graphite was mined yet earlier. It is reported, that in the 1880s graphite was sold to Geneva and was used in the ovens of the lead mine in Goppenstein. Between 1873 and 1875 different persons asked for mining rights in the Loetschental. One of them in Goltschenried, where the future mine will be built. But here were no traces of former mining found.

First World War
In World War I it was no easy to get enough fuels. The price of imported coal increased enormously. This is why coal mining in Switzerland was forced. In 1917 Alois Henzen won mining rights for anthracite and graphite in Loetschental. In the same year he sold the concession with profit to Dr. Albert Duret from Geneva. From him, the «Société des Mines de Ferden» gets the concession. In 1918 the mining began. With a funicular railway, the material came to Fystertella. After the sheaths, the material was brought with a field railway to Goppenstein for preparation.

After the war, the mine of Ferden was closed in March 1919. The fuel shortage was not yet overcome. So the mining rights were given to different buyers in the postwar period. Most of them never mined something. While the war, only about 3300 tons of coal was mined.

Second World War
Shortly after WWII began, there was a run on mining rights in Valais. Dr. W. Ebener from Sion gets the concession from the mine in Ferden in 1940 and leased it to Gottfried Gasser from Bern. Fast there were build a lot of buildings and several cable cars. To transport the coal to Goppenstein, a 3 ton lorry, the first one in the valley, was used. Learning from the failures from WWI, they mined more coal in the first year than in the three years while WWI.

To prevent a coal shortage, the «Bureau für Bergbau» called investment in the amount of CHF 300000. Most of the money came from the company Geigy in Basel which was included as a limited partner. In spite of everything, nothing was invested and all the workers had to be dismissed in 1943.

Post War period
After War, the «Ferden AG» was founded. The main shareholder was, as the largest buyer of anthracite, the company Geigy. The demanded investments form the «Bureau für Bergbau» wer finally executed. So, the monthly capacity increased to 1000 tons. While many other mines in Valais were closed just after War, the mine Ferden could continue operation because of the good quality of the anthracite. In 1949 even this mine was closed.

With about 40000 tons of mined coal in WWII, the mine Ferden was one of the most successful in Valais. Although the mine was operated long, not many traces of mining can be found. Some of the buildings are holiday chalets today. The lugs are all collapsed and overgrown. Only some deposits in front of the former tunnel entrance are evidence of mining.