Zinkgruvan, Närke, Exploring Sweden

Zinkgruvan, Närke – Exploring Sweden

Zinkgruvan is a locality in Askersund Municipality in Örebro County. It is located right at the border between the historical provinces of Närke and Östergötland, with the majority of it within the first one. Around 350 inhabitants live in the vicinity of a mine where the mining of zinc ore is still ongoing and is the southernmost underground mine in Sweden. The name actually translates to “The Zinc Mine”.

A Short History of Zinkgruvan

The Belgian mining company Vieille Montagne acquired possible mines in Sweden in 1857. One of them was named Zinkgruvan and the establishment of a new mine began here already the same year. Vieille Montagne was the owner of the mine until 1995 when it was sold to the Australian mining company North Ltd, which later became a part of Rio Tinto. The Swedish-Canadian mining company Lundin Mining acquired the mine in 2004 and is still the owner. Mining today consists of zinc with the byproduct of silver as well as copper ore. The mine reached a depth of 1300 meters in 2021.

The locality of Zinkgruvan began developing alongside the mine. The area was at the time in the mid-19th century a part of Hammar Parish. Zinkgruvan reached its peak population in the 1960s when the population reached above 800 inhabitants. The population has since declined.

Things to Do and See

When arriving in Zinkgruvan it is hard not to notice the main mine and its large industrial area. The rest of the locality consists mostly of one-family homes. The inhabitants live with several lakes nearby and extensive forests in the surrounding area. For visitors, it is the mining history that makes the area interesting, especially with the Knalla Mine Museum.

Knalla Gruva

Knalla Gruva is one of the mines that Vieille Montagne established here during the 19th century. The mine was in production until 2004 when it was deemed too small and was decommissioned. A mining museum was established here already in 1992 and has since been housed in an old employee facility. The museum has since developed and expanded to include more of the mining area and actually the mine itself. The underground tours did, however, end in 2022.

Lake Viksjön

Viksjön is a nearby lake with a beach for swimming. There is a jetty and other facilities here such as a toilet and changing rooms. The lake is also popular for fishing. Do remember that a fishing permit is required.

How to Get to Zinkgruvan

  • Flights: Örebro Airport (ORB) is 63 kilometers to the north.
  • Car: Zinkgruvan is along countryside roads to the east of Askersund.
  • Bus: Local buses from Länstrafiken Örebro connect Zinkgruvan with the surrounding region.

The driving distance from 5 major Swedish cities, according to Google Maps:

  • Stockholm – 234 kilometers (2 h 57 min)
  • Gothenburg – 266 kilometers (3 h 32 min)
  • Malmö – 446 kilometers (5 h 5 min)
  • Linköping – 70 kilometers (1 h 4 min)
  • Kiruna – 1360 kilometers (16 h 14 min)

Find out more about other destinations in Sweden by visiting our page Exploring Sweden

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