Cultural History Encyclopedia

More information about this article

More information about this article

Published 07. July 1999

Last update 15. July 2021




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The mines at Grimelia

In June 1759, "Grimmeliens Kobberværk" was given royal privilege to run mining operations within a radius of about 20 kilometers. This included Sørdalen in the municipality of Fjaler. For three periods until 1920, around 50 years in all, there was an active mining industry winning copper ore. At its peak the mining community had more than 100 people, the largest concentrated settlement of Askvoll at this time.

Traces of the mining activity at Grimelia can still be seen. In the picture we can see a big slag heap after the mining of copper.

Traces of the mining activity at Grimelia can still be seen. In the picture we can see a big slag heap after the mining of copper.

Owner: I Dalsfjordboka.

Date: 1998.

Photographer: Gaute Losnegård.

The first period

The beginning of the mining operations at Grimelia coincided with a general cyclical upturn for this industry. "Det Nordenfjeldske Bergamt" is known to have surveyed in the area around 1750, and the first ore finds could have been made then. One of the owners of the mine was the merchant Wilhelm Teting from Bergen, who became the mine manager. So far west charcoal for the smelting of the ore was difficult to come by. For this reason the smelter plant was moved to Halbrend in Førde in 1761, which entailed costly transport. Lack of mining specialists, conflicts with the farmers about pay for the transportation of the ore, and internal conflicts among the owners, resulted in liquidation in 1776.

The second period

Operations were started anew in 1854, and the consul Ludvig Konow in Bergen was one of the investors. Later other investors followed suit, represented by the mining engineer A. Ellefsen. He had a controlling power, and by taking an active part in the mining proper, he had a dual role when "Grimeliens Kopperværk" was founded in 1862.

A smelter plant and workers' dwellings were built. Several farms were bought. The company provided a school and a shop for the employees. More workers arrived from Røros. Probably the number of employees reached 50 men around 1865, and the population of the mining community 115. But a combination of high capital expenses, operational costs, and low copper prices caused bankruptcy of the company in 1883.

The third period

In 1904, the mine was sold again, this time to a Swedish consul, and trial operations went on until 1906. The First World War caused high metal prices. From 1916 "A/S Christiania Minekompani" extracted ore with a work force of up to 17 men. The operations were shut down in 1920.

Mining at Sørdalen

At Sørdalen near Hellevik in the municipality of Fjaler there was periodic mining fairly parallel with the operations at Grimelia. The copper mine at Grimelia was licensed to mine at Sørdalen. When this mine ran into problems, the operation at Sørdalen was taken over by the master cooper Reinertsen and the mining specialist Gasmann in 1773. The lake of Sørdalsvatnet was dammed up, and a blast furnace was built down by the sea. However, in 1780 the operations had to be discontinued.

From 1864 to 1886, the British company of The Norwegian Titanic Iron Company took out ore from Sørdalen. The ore was transported to England and smelted there. In the period 1907-09, an English company ran a similar operation as well. Some of this ore remained and was used by the Germans during the Second World War.

See geometric position on detailed map at Fylkesatlas or on a 3D-map at Google Maps by clicking on the 3D-button down to the right at the Google-map.


Losnegård, Rolf m.fl.: Dalsfjordboka frå Gaularfjell til Bulandet. Leikanger 1999.
Sogeskrift for Askvoll kommune. nr. 1. 1981.
Sogeskrift for Askvoll kommune. nr. 9. 1996.