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Mining Regulations

by Alexander Sohm last modified 2007-01-08 13:40

There is not much known about the organisation of mining in early days.  It was only through the mining regulations set by Kaiser Karl V and Archduke Ferdinand I in the years 1520, 1522 and 1524 that the mining operations could be regulated.  The government in Innsbruck ordered a mountain judge for the Montafon alone.  In the first book of mining regulations which came out on August 28th, 1520, Stephan Kobern was named as the mountain judge in Montafon.  These regulations tried to clearly define the competencies of the governing bailiff from Bludenz and the mountain judge.  One of the duties of the mountain judge was to rule over differences between the mountain people and small iniquities which didn’t exceed a certain extent of punishment.  In addition, he was also the mountain administrator and tax collector.  Court was held every 4 months where he was supported by a scribe, a court usher and a mountain jurist.  

One of the rules in the first book of mining regulations was concerning the „Blue Monday“ because there were miners that promised to work and who would have collected pay for the day, but instead of going to work, they went to the guesthouses and spent their pay.  A “Huetmann” or tunnel supervisor could ask the mountain judge to come and inspect the mines to look for deficiencies.  

Sexual offences were atoned by prison or fines.

Another duty that the mountain judge had was to award each of the mines to the finder.  On the 12th of October, 1522 a new mining regulations for the mines in the dominion of Bludenz and Sonnenberg were laid down in order to make the operation of the mines even better.

The mines were divided into „high“and „low“mines, according to their location.  The mine “Sant Bartlemesberg” was labelled as a “low mine” because it was close to houses and the parish church.  The miners that worked there were able to live at home and they went to work every day.  This cost the owner of the mine a lot less money.  The Lobiner mine which is north east of the Kristbergsattel, or the Alpine “Fresch” and “Alpguess” , on the other hand were categorized as “high mines” because the miners had to stay there the whole week.  

Shift work was also specified in this novella.  The day shift was made up of 10 working hours.  A shift master was hired whose duty it was to be informed about all of the mountain court cases, to keep a good eye on the mines and to inform the mountain judge and the “union” of any deficiencies.  The arch prince’s chamber was very interested in the regulations being followed since the mines didn’t have to pay a basic tax, but rather a tax based on production.  Together with the mountain judge, the shift master had to have the scales calibrated once or twice a year.  Another point in the new mining regulations dealt with the administration of the wood needed for mining.  The timber master from Schwaz, the mountain judge, the shift master, the jurists and the bailiff selected certain parts of a forest that were needed by the mining operation the trees were only felled in that section.  It was important that the trees were felled properly, and the smelters were ordered to only take the wood and the amount needed for the charcoal kiln from the part of the forest where it would do the least damage.  The mountain judge was also responsible for making sure the smelters had enough clay pits for smelting the ore.  The owners of the clay pits or quarries had to be paid a fair price.  This was also true for the ore transporters that damaged the cattle pastures when the transported the ore over the mountains.

On the 12th of March, 1524 Archduke Ferdinand I made some more additions to the novella from 1522.  Here it is emphasized that he intended to have a road built from Bludenz into the Montafon.  


P11-4 mining regulations.mp3

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