The Tarra Valley Mines…

…, located within Laponia and Jokkmokk’s burough boundries, were first mentioned near the end of the 19th century. In his travels in the Kvikkjokk area, the Swedish geologist Fredrik Svenonius found deposits of magnesite (MgCO3) in 1882. These deposits were in the Tarra Valley area and 1893, magnesite deposits were found in the Säkok-Ruopsokvaratj area, approximately 25 kilometers northwest of Kvikkjokk. A sample from the Tarra Valley was sent to the Swedish Geological Survey laboratory where it was determined that the purity of magnesite ranged between 37-42%.

In 1895, searching for minerals and ore in the Tarra Valley led to the start of exploitation attempts. Seemingly, in 1897, interest in iron ore deposits in the valley was awakened and resulted in claims filed by a lieutenant H. Sandberg. More information about these iron ore claims has not yet been found.

resize-of-tarraforsvar01.jpgPhoto: A claim defense in the Tarra Valley. Antiloupta in the background

Also in 1897, application for prospecting and exploiting magnesite deposits was received by the Northern Mine Inspection (Bergmästareämbetet i Norr) by the Magnesit Aktiebolaget Tarrakaise company. This application concerned itself with 7 concession claims staked out on the western slopes of the mountain Hildo and 4 concession claims on the mountain Tarrakaise, now know as Antiluopta, and on the latter of these two were given the mine names “Bruden”, “Haren”, “Orren” and “Jägaren”.

Concerning “Bruden”, two horizontal mine shafts had been dug showing magnesite deposits at a length of 140 meters and a width of 5-11 meters. Magnesite ore at “Jägaren” was clearly visible for a length of 80 meters and a horizontal mineshaft of 7 meters was dug. No information has been found concerning work with “Haren” but several mineshafts had apparently been dug within “Orrens” claim area.

It is important to note that, in accordance to the mining laws of that era and which required prospectors to build so-called claim defenses consisting of rectangular mounds of rock or ore, such defense work was carried out in conjunction with the claims along Hildo.

Two more concession claims were made along or near the stream of Parturkårså and given the names “Partu 1” and “Partu 5”, though on an older mining map drawn by surveyor C.J.O. K___?___ in (Year), there shows only Patur 1 & 2. Further historical information about the Magnesit Aktiebolag Tarrakaise company is still being researched.
At the end of the 19th century, interest in mineral deposits at, not only the Tarra Valley but including the iron ore deposits existing at the Ruotevare Hill and the older silver mines of Kedkevare both northwest of Kvikkjokk, gave extremely optimistic hope for future exploitation. The mining works at Tarra Valley even included plans for building suspended cable conveyors that would transport magnesite ore from the higher mineshafts down towards the lower valley area for transportation onwards to coastal industries.

resize-of-tarraort02.jpgPhoto: A rediscovered mine shaft of the Tarra Valley mining area. Caution– because of years of ice and water erosion, do not enter these! Risk for caving in!

These plans and existing optimism led to a natural discussion of expanding railroad connections in the north and serious thoughts were given to building a railway through the Tarra Valley connecting main railways in Sweden with industries in Norway. The Tarra Valley, with its deposits of magnesite, lies in a northwestern to southeastern direction and is a natural geographical link towards Norway.

In his paper “The Iron Mountains of Ruotivare and Wallatj and The Silver Mines of Alkavare and Silbotjokko in Norrbotten” (1891), J.A. Falk argued the following…

“A future railway from Ruotivare would be built within a distance of some 12 English miles from Silbotjokko, so that a branch road from the latter place would not be expensive. For mining operations in a smaller scale…the most suitable course is via Sulitelma copper mines…a distance of only about 30 km. The ore could be refined there or brought further the short distance to the nearest harbour in Norway.”

Falk later continues with an economic calculation of building such a railway and writes, “The cost for constructing a railway of for instance the Decauville system…would be only about 3,300,000 kr”. He finishes his arguments stating, “The chief object of building a railway from Ruotivare to the coast of Norway would be of course to make the great mineral deposits profitable, but would be of importance in other respects too. When the railway is finished, the great lakes between Jockmock and Qvickjock would soon be navigated by small steamers and thousands of travelers (will) pass through this part of Scandinavia…”

resize-of-tarraort01.jpgPhoto: Inside view of a mine shaft at Tarra Valley

No railway was built and it appears that the Magnasit Aktiebolag Tarrakaise ceased existing as a company sometime at the end of the 1920’s. Further historical investigations are in process.

What seems to be the last evidence of interest in the Tarra Valley magnesite deposits was shown by Alvar Holmbom, probably of the Holmbom family from the nearby homestead of Njunjes, whom continued the search for newer cores of the mineral in 1923. Neither evidence of exploitation nor filing of claims from Holmbom has be found to date. And, very few actual mining remnants were cataloged by the project Older Mines of Jokkmokk during inventory work 1996

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