The Kiuri Silver Mine…

…, located just north of Tjåmotis, had a small part in Jokkmokk’s mining history. In 1729, several years after the1702 abandonment of the first mining works of Kedkevare and Alkavare, mining inspector Seger Svanberg was sent to Kvikkjokk to inspect seven possible silver deposits that had been reported.

During his stay that year, Svanberg understood that Margareta Påhlsdotter had known that her grandfather had knowledge of a silver deposit and which he had worked about eight days with. The find was about 30 kilometers east of Kvikkjokk on a hill called Kiuri, though she couldn’t exactly describe where and that this incident happened when she was a little girl.

Other sources state that Nils Andersson, the bell-keep at Kvikkjokk´s church and owning a farm in the small village of Tjåmotis nearby Kiuri Hill is given the credit for information about silver. Regimental quartermaster Joakim Kock supported this information and even regional magistrate Gabriel Gyllengrip suggested that Andersson be presented with a silver bowl as a reward for the find in 1732.

resize-of-kiuribodar01.jpgPhoto: Older log storage houses of Tjåmotis. Kiuri Hill in the background

In his journey to Lapland in 1732, the Swedish botanist Carl von Linneus wrote of actually visiting Kirui with Seger Svanberg and Joachim Kock on the morning of July 3 that same year. He noted that Kiuri was quite high and exploitation attempts had begun on the silver ore that could be easily seen.

Evidently, trenching for silver had been started at Kiuri, 45 kilometers east from Kvikkjokk and 250 kilometers from Luleå. The silver deposit faced westards and was almost perpendicular down the hill for about 4 famnar. During that same first year, Svanberg further explained that work was carried out on trenching consisting of fourteen days work which expanded the trench to 4 famnar in width and 5 famnar in depth and that “one had to use a rope to lower themselves down with”.

From this first exploitation, Svanberg determined that the quality of silver was unreliable and had difficulties in understanding why the Mining Collegiate would consider covering more costs. He continued to mention that in spite of this poor quality, gentlemen and directors from the Mining Collegiate of Västerbotten had sent 10 workers to continue exploitation during the summer of 1733.

It is slightly unclear if the Mining Collegiate from Västerbotten had actually continued to work the silver trenchings in 1733 or that, if only in part, the regimental quartermaster Joakim Kock figured in some way with the operations.

Through the state (king’s) Mining Collegiate in 1734, Joakim Kock received full privileges over the silver works at Kiuri. This designated that Kock was allotted the use of the mining tools from the earlier Luleå Silververk operations and which were still in storage in Kvikkjokk. How much silver was actually mined and shipped out by Kock is uncertain.

Undoubtedly, Kock was an ambitious but frustrated man. In several letters to the Mining Collegiate, Kock complained that the Saami were not willing to tell of any possible silver ore deposits that could result in exploitation. Once, he suggested that the Saami, who told of new deposits, would be freed from paying taxes and those, who kept new finds a secret, would be punished. He also felt that the Saami who shunned their responsibilities as citizens should be “chased out of Sweden with wives and children and their grazing grounds should go to others who have respect for the Swedish Crown”. (Clearly, Kock’s ethnic opinions were of his alone and not necessarily mirrored those of local or general populace.)

Since Joakim Kock’s entrepenuership at Kiuri, it is unclear whom, if anyone found the silver interesting enough to further mine it. In 1796, mining adviser Samuel Gustaf Hermelin visited Kiuri and the older mining works. With this visit, he found the trenching to be 7 famnar long, 3-4 famnar broad and 5 famnar deep. There were signs of the use of an auger that may have resulted from work after Kock.

resize-of-kiuri02.jpgPhoto: A claim defense built near the end of the 19th century on Kiuri Hill

J.A. Falk, a correspondent from Boden and Svartbjörnsby, together with Gabriel Nilsson, a small farm owner from Skatamark, applied for a prospecting license for Kiuri at the Office of Mining Inspection in the borough of Norrbotten in Luleå, November 29, 1889

In their handwritten application, Falk and Nilsson explained that they had intentions of exploiting “an ore deposit consisting of lead glance and situated on the southwest point of Kiuri Hill which lies on the king’s land about ¾ miles north of the village of Tjåmotis in the area of Kvikkjokk.” On December 7, 1889 The Office of Mining Inspection awarded the two men with a prospecting license. The mining operations would be called The Tjåmotis Mine. Very little work was achieved and only resulted in the building of a few claim defenses.

Approximately twelve years later, Kiuri was the focus of attention for a new prospecting application. On June 19, 1901, small farm owners E.A. Jakobsson and L.V. Östlund, both living in Tjåmotis, made application for prospecting rights on Kiuri to the Office of Mining Inspection in Luleå. The Office of Mining Inspection on the 24 of June received the letter.

Jakobsson´s and Östlund´s application involved 8 mining claims primarily prospecting for iron ore. This application concerned a detailed description of where the mines were to be found, what ore was to be mined and how the claims where marked. A total of 8 concession claims where accounted for and were largely found along both sides of Kieures Creek. The names of these mines were “Avon”, “Hopp”, “Kraft”, “Sköldman”, “Oden”, “Tor”, “Gustaf” and “Säkerhet”

Surprisingly, the prospecting licenses, which the Office of Mining Inspection in Luleå issued to Jakobsson and Östling, consisted of only 7 concession claims. The “Kraft” Mine, and its license, was not found in the archives. Still, there were prospecting licenses for more concession mines than the original 8. These mines and a description of their location, were given the names “Freja”, “Jungfrun”, “Prins”, “Åive”, “Silver”, “Balder” and “Tjåmotis”.

Since Jakobsson & Östling, evidence of still further exploitation attempts or applications for prospecting licenses in Kiruna Hill can be found during the 1980`s.

resize-of-kiurijakobsson01.pngPhoto: To get details of older mining operations, the Old Mines of Jokkmokk project conducted interviews with local residents. Here, Kenneth Awebro is listening to Börje Jakobsson tell about earlier mining operations on Kiuri Hill at Jakobsson’s home in Tjåmotis.

According to Börje Jakobsson, a resident of Tjåmotis, the state owned mining company of LKAB had an interest from 1980 to 1983. Jakobsson had assisted in prospecting work as an employee for LKAB near and around Kiuri Hill in the company´s search for iron ore deposits. The work consisted primarily of test drilling in the lowlands south of Kiuri Hill and north of Tjåmotis.

In 1989, a new application for prospecting came to the Office of Mining Inspection in Norrbotten from Tetron Mining AB, Stockholm, a subsidiary company to CE-JI AB. The application, dated October 31, specified prospecting and mineral rights for gold in the area that would be called “Kiuri 1” and comprising of approximately 641 hectares. Svenska Cellulosa AB had land ownership and the Saami economic village of Jåkkakaska held land rights.

Evidently the most recent interest in minerals and prospecting at Kiuri Hill comes from the company Geoforum Scandinavia AB, Ludvika in March 1995. Geoforum was seemingly a subsidiary company of Finnmark Mining Ltd. The minerals that the company was interested in were copper, lead, zinc, aluminum and gold in an area of about 2800 hectares being called Tjåmotis West.

Today, remnants of the original silver mine from 1732 as well as more recent mining remains can be found on or around Kiuri Hill.

Note: The use of the older Swedish measuring system allocated 1 famn = 1.78 meters and 1 aln = 0.58 meters

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