The Falk-Nila Silver Mine…

…in the Jokkmokk mountains was a result of continued searches for silver already during the later half of the 17th century. Silver ore, which eventually led to the Falk-Nila Mine, was first mentioned during this intense period of discovery. Through the years, many people knew about it, but no one worked the silver until the end of the 19th century.

Looking back – With a silver mine already having been established at Silpatjåkkå (1660), the Swedish monarchy felt it necessary to send a commission to this isolated mountain area. The commission’s goal was to inspect and report on operations in order to guarantee successful royal mining investments and suggest changes necessary to make the operations more effective and profitable.

Photo: Panorama view of the Falk-Nila Silver Mine area, Padjelanta Nat. Park in Laponia

Daniel Drefling, head of the 1670 commission visiting Silpatjåkkå, wrote to the king that there could very well be a new silver ore deposit nearby. One area was centered on the Fierrovare area, where two men seemed to be engaged with working a line of silver ore to the south of Silpatjåkkå. Another area was towards the northeast, where two other men were gathering loose rocks at Alkavare. Obviously, this later became the Alkavare Silver Mine in 1672.

But, Drefling also wrote to Stockholm that still another interesting discovery had been made by two men between Silpatjåkkå and Alkavare. This new area was at the base of the Junkka Mountain and nearby Lake Fästajaur. There were indications that Drefling himself was interested in mining this find, but the situation changed and Drefling was sent to boss over the Sala Silver mine in 1674 and efforts were apparently concentrated with working the Silpatjåkkå and Alkavare mines.

Later, Seger Svanberg reported on this unnamed area in his work of 1731. Another man, Joachim Kock, also knew about this untouched silver but had decided to start the silver mine at Kiuri in 1732 together with Svanberg. Later, Samuel G. Hermelin wrote about it in his “History of Minerals” from 1804 but he decided to engage himself with the Ruotevare Mine northwest of Kvikkjokk.

It wasn’t until November 1892 that Robert Asplund, Luleå, received mining rights to “a still unexploited area” that a silver mine was started at the Junkka Mountain and Lake Festajaure. This was named Nila Silver Mine 1 and later Nila Silver Mine 2 was started. Asplund didn’t really work the mines and these were taken over by a N. E. Naselius in 1897. In 1898, still another claim was awarded to J.A. Falk and positioned nearby just a few hundred meters to the west of Nila Silver Mine. This mining area was later taken over by A. Forssén, a teacher from Luleå. Thus, the whole area was referred to as the Falk-Nila Silver Mine.

Photo: Claim defenses from the 1890’s and built within the Falk-Nila Silver Mine area.

During the end of the 19th century, very little silver was mined at Falk-Nila Silver mines. Mostly, and in accordance to the mining laws of the time, claim defences were built by a small handful of men which were housed in a makeshift dwelling near the mines. In 1908, the mines were granted permission to temporarily end operations but they never regained working status afterwards. Some 20-30 tons of lead were the result of the Falk-Nila Silver Mine during its peak years.

Photo: 1890’s remains of the small miner’s house at Falk-Nila Silver Mine

The Nila Ghost -An interesting tale connected with these mines is about The Nila Ghost. Seemingly, a miner, who once had worked as a seaman and was later working at the Falk-Nila Silver Mine as a miner, was famed for working dressed with a short-waisted seaman’s jacket and seaman-styled hat. Unfortunately, the man was killed in an accident involving dynamite and was buried somewhere in the area.

Still today, it is said that the Nila Ghost can be seen in the area…coming at the warning of crows and wearing his traditional seamen clothing and scaring people away while protecting his silver claims.