THE WILDERNESS MINE IN VARUTRÄSK, ONE OF THE MOST MINERAL RICHEST PLACES IN THE WORLD
The Wilderness mine was found in 1932 by Harald Holmgren when he was out hunting. He saw some pegmatite, which is a silicate rock, that he thought looked interesting. That is one of the rocks that constitute a big part of Norrland´s bedrock.
Prior to hiring people to investigate the magnitude of the pegmatite size further, the copper works at Rönnskär were contacted for a possible quartz delivery. Quartz contains silicon, wich was used for the purification of copper.
Regarding the feldspar, a company that made porcelain and a mica company were contacted.
When he negotiated with these companies about potential deliveries he hired three men. Karl Holmgren and Axel Mannberg, that came from Nyland and Uno Nilsson fram Tarsbäckliden, who was a farm-worker for Harald Holmgren. Later, Uno Nilsson married Harald Holmgrens daughter Linnea. The work began in october 1932 and at that time old methods were used. One man held the drill and flipped it after every slam from the sledgehammer. This method had one problem, which was that the drills got worn out very fast. As a solution to this, Karl Holmgren was sent to Boliden to learn how to maintain the drills.
Before that, a forge had been purchased to sharpen the drills. At that time, a lot of people living in Varuträsk thought that Harald Holmgren was out of his mind for getting the mine work going. They even advised his workers to stop working for him.
The workers were paid 50 cents per hour, which adds up to 4 SEK per day. In 1932, that was a lot of money. When the mining had begun, the workers found a lilac stone, that turned out to be Lepidolite which contains Lithium. Lithium was a coveted material and was used for many different things. Catalytic converters and for making synthetic rubber for example. In the Wilderness mine at Skellefteå Adventurepark around 40 differens minerals from 6 different kinds of Lithium has been found.
In 1936, the mine was taken over by Boliden limited company and the mining continued until 1946. During the inig, new types of minerals were constantly emerging but a lot of it was considered of no value. However, later it turned out that some of the findings consisted Pollucite, a mineral containing Cesium, which is used in infrared lights, solar and photocells etc.
Later, a mineral that the geologists had never heard of before was found at the Wilderness mine in Varuträsk, and today they call it Varulit.
/Lennart Holmgren, Son of Harald
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