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Heap of Anna Shaft

GPS: 49°49'43.021"N 17°43'9.301"E – map

 

NITTMANN'S MINE

In the first half of the 19th century, Johann Nittmann began mining slate on his land in the place of the present bus stop in Mokřinky. First, he extracted slate from the surface, then he had an adit dug. After he died, his son Josef took over the business. Josef then sold the original mine near the creek to the Melč estate owner, Count Arz von Wasseg. After 1840, he established a new one under the nearby Moraberg hill. At that time, the great heap of slate began to grow. Except for the headframe, the heap served as the foundation of two mining operations buildings. Nittmann successfully mined here until the 1850s.

CARL SHAFT

Later, Nittmann sold even this mine to the Melč estate owner, who established a joint-stock company for his mining business. Mining then continued here without interruption even after the mine – along with the neglected Janské Koupele – was bought in 1884 by a tycoon and builder Carl Weisshuhn for 50,000 Opava guldens. At that time, the slate mine yielded about 6,000 guldens a year. Around 1890, the mine – which Weisshuhn named "Carl Shaft" – was extended and connected in the underground with a newly opened shaft named after Weisshuhn's wife, "Frederike Shaft". The headframe of the new shaft stood on the left, in a place currently fenced off. Already in 1892, the new shaft – whose heaps rise above the crossroads in Mokřinky – in conjunction with the original mine brought a larger profit than originally anticipated.

ANNA SHAFT

In 1908, when the deposit in the Carl Shaft was depleted, Weisshuhn sold the mine to Count Razumovsky. Count Razumovsky then continued mining in the Frederike Shaft – which he renamed to "Anna Shaft" – until his death in 1917. After his death, the mine was operated by his heirs. During the period of the first Czechoslovak Republic, they were taken away some of their property as part of the then land reform.

ANNA SCHAFT. During the war, mining was reduced, only to be completely shut down after the war was finally over. In the last days of the war, the mine's warehouse of explosives was filled with about 1,000 kg of explosives. They should serve for sabotage actions by German werwolf units. However, in the chaos that arouse with the closing front line, the Germans fortunately never used them.

THE MINE UNDER JAN ŘIHÁK

The last successful owner of the Anna Shaft was Jan Řihák of Olomouc, owner of the slate mines in Velká Střelná and Hrubá Voda. Řihák's whole life was closely linked with the slate industry. In the 1920s, the slate industry stagnated in a deep crisis caused by the First World War, which resulted in loss of customers and lack of coal for steam engines. Moreover, in the early 1930s, a new competition entered the market: asbestos cement roofing. In 1922, Jan Řihák joined his father-in-law's company named "Josef Prucek – Roofer Tiling in Olomouc". Based on a market contract, on 8 July and 14 August 1930, Jan Řihák acquired forest land, a slate quarry, and an office building in the cadastral territory of the municipality of Melč. He planned to acquire areas of land which had been historically known to be rich in slate and to use the slate waste located in these areas a strategic raw material for the emerging gramophone and rubber industries.

According to geological surveys carried by Jan Řihák himself, the deposit complex on the left bank of the Moravice river consisted of six deposit zones with a thickness of 6 –10 m with a north-east dip of 15 – 20° and inclination of the layers of 70 – 80° to the south-east. This area concealed an extremely high quality deposit. The local slate – with the hardness of 2.5 to 3.5 degrees on the Mohs scale – is characterized by great quality, steely blue or dark blue colour, and mostly a smooth surface on cleavage surfaces.

In 1931, Řihák was preparing to restore production. As the mine manager, he chose the experienced Johann Wiederholt. Řihák also repaired the cleaving shop and carried out a complete reconstruction of the wooden headframe. In the following year, Řihák successfully started mining. In 1932, he also opened a new mine in Velká Střelná, and shortly afterwards both of the mines began to prosper again. Then came a new wave of decline brought by World War II. Czech entrepreneurs had to leave the Sudetenland, and the mines in Velká Střelná a Hrubá Voda were taken by a German company "Freihernmsdorfer Dachsschierewerke – Werke Tatzel et Comp“.

After the war, the mines gradually became state property, but mining here has never been restored since.

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