History of the Silver Mines of Oberzeiring
By reviewing early findings and local history one can trace silver mining in the upper Pöls valley back to 1000 B.C. Oberzeiring in ancient times was one of the largest silver mines of the eastern alps, has for the first time been documented 1265 and been granted the status of a market town in 1279. In this 13th century it was in the possession of all the rights of a mining town and until 1663 also the seat of the mining court. Of particular significance had been the granting of the minting right in order to coin the “Zeyringer Pfennig”.The “Mines at Zeiring” were famous for their abundance of silver until the late Middle Ages, during which King Rudolf of Habsburg conquered the district of Styria in order to possess these rich deposits.
At that time ten silver smelters had been processing silver-rich mixed ores and high-silver-containing lead ores, some ores even showed locally high gold grades. Through the high profits from mining these deposits, the contstruction of many buildings in Vienna, the capital of Austria, got financed and Zeiring got the honorary name of “Mother of Vienna”.
In the year 1361 mining ended abruptly due to a sudden and unexpected flooding event at a depth of about 60 meters underground. This flooding event caused 1,400 miners to drown according to the chronicles. Evidence of this tragic accident is documented in several hitsrical records and also depicted in a medieval mural in the hall of the Maximilian castle Hahnfelden in Unterzeiring. The event is also documented in the inscription of a map of Noricum, which is availabe in the regional library of Graz.
In every century thereafter futile trials to dewater the flooded mine workings failed due to lack of adequate technology.
Just a few hundred meters from the mine entrance, Emperor Maximilian I. had built the aforementioned castle of Hahnfelden, where he is said to have resided for three months around the year 1475 and also 1506, to personally supervise dewatering and reactivation operations for gold & silver mining. Later the abbey of Admont, many private entrepreneurs, and a state commission on mining under direction of Empress Maria Theresa had tried a reopening, but without electricity and machines this could not be achieved. Small scale mining took place up until the end of the 18th century. Around 1816 the mining of larger quantities of silver containing galena is noted in historical documents. In the year 1840 the mining of silver had been followed by that of iron ore, which ended 1886.
The 20th century in Europe was affected by two world wars and all kinds of political upheavels which did not induce mining and exploration entrepreneurs to follow up on the findings of centuries ago. However, in the late 1950s and early 1960s barite was mined for some years due to a property of barite blocking radiation, obviously a reaction to a fear of an escalation of the cold war.
NI43-101 Report - Oberzeiring PoliMetallic Property
The following precious metals, industrial metals and critical raw materials are thought to occur with mineralization of the project area and could be mined as by-products in addition to the “green” marked main products, which would enhance the economic viablility of any potential future mining activities at the Project:
Oberzeiring: Ag, Au, Sb, Cu, Zn, Pb, Barite, as well as Ga, Ge and In
The latest table of critical raw materials for the EU of September 29, 2017 now contains 27 critical raw materials (after 14 critical raw materials in 2011 and 20 critical raw materials in 2014):
Antimony, Barite*, Beryllium, Bismuth*, Borate, Cobalt, Coking coal, Fluorite, Gallium, Germanium, Hafnium*, Helium*, Indium, Magnesium, natural Graphite, natural Rubber, Niob, Rock Phosphate, Phosphorus*, Scandium*, metallic Silicium, Tantalum*, Tungsten, Vanadium*, Platinum Group Metals, Heavy Rare Earths, Light Rare Earths.
(The raw materials underlinded and marked with * are new in the list as compared to 2014.)
Antimony (Sb), Gallium (Ga), Germanium (Ge) Indium (In) and in particular Barite are defined by the EU as “critical raw materials” and therefore especially in demand, since there is hardly any occur within the area of the EU. There are subsidies available in the EU of several hundred millions Euro for the detection of such raw materials in connection with the development of innovative exploration methods.