The years 1600 till 1900

  • 1605 By a consensus dated November 23, 1605, Count Johann Albrecht to Solms-Braunfels granted Count Wilhelm to Solms-Greifenstein a permission for “the extraction of iron ore in Klosterwalde near Altenberg” (the Fortuna mine, which probably was in the area of today’s “Glückshain” and “Bergmann” mine fields ).
  • 1847 The first written reference in the ministry files of the ore deposits in the area of the later Fortuna mine.
  • 1849 Awarding the prince of Solms-Braunfels an area size of 1.035712 km² of the Fortuna mine field. Due to later awards, the total field size increased to 4.689371 km².
  • 1878 Construction of the 3.6 km long cable car to the next blast furnace plant “Georgshütte” in Burgsolms, which is also owned by the Prince of Solms-Braunfels.
  • 1881 The discovery of Roman garment clips (brooches) and pet bones in the Felicitas mine field which suggests that iron ore could have been extracted in the Fortuna mine area around 2000 years ago.
Mine workers in 1929; on the right is the cable car to the “Georgshütte” blast furnace plant in Burgsolms

The years 1901 till 1950

  • 1901 The first shaft was sunk up to 44.8 m below the tunnel floor.
  • 1906 The prince of Solms-Braunfels sells the Fortuna pit and all other pits to the famous Friedrich Krupp company in Essen.
  • 1907 sinking of a new shaft (the machine shaft II) up to the 40 m level. Later, the shaft is sunk further in several sections up to the 150 m level. Both the steam operating engine for the carrier and the water drainage (pumps) were inaugurated.
  • 1908 Construction of another 3.28 km cable car to the Albshausen train station. In seven years of tunneling, adding to the drive-through Tunnel-System of the mine until it has a total length of 1,654 km.
  • 1912 A petrol locomotive from the Deutz company replaces the traditional horse transportation between the shaft and the preparation area.
  • 1916 Fifty prisoners of war are housed and employed on the Fortuna mine.
  • 1929 sinking of a new blind shaft (a sublevel shaft) from the 150m sole to the 250m sole.
  • 1943 collapse of the machine shaft in the upper one third of the shaft.
  • 1944 sinking of the main blind shaft from the floor of the newly opened shaft – which is 160 m away  from the mouth hole – to the 150 m level. This also enables entry into today’s visitors´ mine.
  • 1950 Construction of a new processing plant.
The Krupp daily facilities of the Fortuna mine around 1920
The situation after the collapse of the shaft in 1943

The Years 1951 till 1970

  • 1953 Takeover of the mine by the Harz Lahn Erzbergbau AG.
  • 1954 Further sinking of the main blind shaft to the 250m level. First mechanization of the filling process with the new Rocker Shovel Loader, sometimes simply referred to as a Rocker Shovel or Mucker, of Atlas Copco LM 30.
  • 1954 Completion of the new mine house.
  • 1957 breakthrough of the shaft till it reaches above the ground. Construction above the grounf of both a new Winding Engine House and a Compressor Building as well as sinking the shaft down to the 250m level.
  • 1960 First scraper operations in ore extraction.
  • 1962 The decision to shut down the Fortuna mine as the companies Krupp, Hoesch and Klöckner refused to continue sourcing its ore from the Harz Lahn area. However, the pit will continue to be operated with a small team as part of the decommissioning work.
  • 1963 Resumption of mining activity, since the conversion of iron and the steel industry at the Rhine and Ruhr regions had only led to unexpected problems with the foreign ores. The Fortuna ore is again added to the blast furnaces as a slag carrier.
  • 1964 First use of trackless, rubber-tipped „Throwing Shovel Loaders“ type Atlas Copco T 2G with a transport container.
The production tunnel with a Deutz diesel locomotive around 1951
Aerial view of the new above-ground facilities from 1958

The years 1971 till 1983

  • 1971 First use of a diesel-powered EIMCO 911 shovel loader.
  • 1972 Use of a „Tamrock Minimatic“ compressed air powered drill
  • 1973/74 Two-shift operation thanks to the additional working team from the Sachtleben company.
  • 1974 Use of additional EIMCO 911 and 912 shovel loaders with 130 & 663 tones. This is when the mine reaches its highest annual production ever.
  • 1975 Emplementing short-time work for the core workforce.
  • 1979 Partial shut down of the cable car and the beginning of ore transport to the Braunfels station (Lahn station) by truck.
  • 1980 Use of a diesel-hydraulic drilling vehicle.
  • 1981 Use of an explosive vehicle. In October of the same year, the Hesse’s last blast furnace plant, the Sophienhütte in Wetzlar, is shut down. This means that another important buyer of the Fortuna ore is no longer available.
  • 1983 The last shift ends its work on March 3rd, and the mine is then closed on March 4th. This is when 43 miners were still employed and around 130,000 tonnes of ore are still stockpiled in the „Grundbachtal“ valley, which corresponds to the production volume of one and a half years.
  • 1983 On May 16, the Fortuna Visitors´ Mine Association is then founded. The goal is to preserve the mine as a visitors´ mine (Museum). The pumps then are being switched off in September. In December, a sponsoring association consisting of the Lahn-Dill district, the towns and municipalities of Wetzlar, Aßlar, Solms, Braunfels, Leun and Ehringshausen as well as the Fortuna sponsoring association has been founded. This means that the green light has been given for the expansion of the Fortuna Mine into a Visitors´ Mine Museum.
The diesel loaders “Eimco 911” in use
The workforce at the end of the last shift on March 4, 1983

The years starting 1985

  • 1985 The official expansion work on the visitors´ mine begins in February.
  • 1987 on Pentecost Monday, the Museum opens ist doors for the visitors.
  • 2010 The visitors´mine „The Grube Fortuna“ is officially certified as a geographic information center GeoInformationszentrum in the newly founded GEOPARK Westerwald-Lahn-Taunus GEOPARK Westerwald-Lahn-Taunus
  • 2011 After the transfer of ownership from the Lahn-Dill-Kreis to the newly founded, non-profit association Geowelt Fortuna e.V., the visitors´ mine is then reopened after a 17-month break.
  • 2017 on April 1st, the association celebrates with friends, sponsors and representatives of related institutions the 30th birthday of the visitors´ mine. With the 1st „Melting and Forging Day“ which took place on June 17th, the development of the “Master Plan Fortuna 2025” started by discussing and implementing various sustainable and future oriented plans together with our partners, experts and employees.
  • 2019 With the installation of a pneumatic (air) hammer, the mine´s smithy, which has been reopened the previous year, is being enriched by another attraction.
Wiedereröffnung des Besucherbergwerks am 16.04.2011
Feier am 01.04.2017 zum 30. Geburtstag des Besucherbergwerks