Friends of the Mine
The association called Venelaget for Gruo (in English: Friends of the Mine) was founded in March 1993 in order to preserve memories – objects, photographs, historical records – concerning the Litlabø pyrite mines. A/S Stordø Kisgruber was closed down in 1968, after more than a hundred years of continuous mining at Litlabø.
A number of the FOM members are born and raised at “the mine”, or are descendants of miners, but as time has passed, others too have taken an interest in and have enjoyed participating in our work. Today the association numbers 150 members. The membership fee is NOK 150 a year for single members and NOK 200 for families.
The first task of the FOM was advocating the safeguarding and reconstruction of the carpenters’ shop and mine captains’ office. This was carried out by economic funding from “Stord i utvikling” (Stord development funds). Next, Friends of the Mine erected a monument of the mine worker, sculpted by Arne Mæland, Os, and unveiled on May 1. 1996. In 2004 the FOM cleared several footpaths in the mining area, and in 2005 we spotlighted the shaft tower, a memorial landmark visible from a long distance. Frequently the FOM arranges guided group walks in the mining area and in many of the buildings.
Since the summer of 2005 we have been working full blast on the project called “A Living Mine Museum”, thoroughly described on this internet site. Our living museum is not intended to replace the museum already in existence at the workman’s house and the smithy, but to be an addition. The various elements will represent different aspects of the history of the mine.
A handful of people of different ages meet every Monday for collective work effort. Apart from that people are in full swing several days a week, according to what is needed. Among these active members various fields of competence are to be found: plumber, electrician, carpenter, mechanic, welder, machine driver, surveyor, pedagogue —. This valuable diversity enables us to meet the challenges we are faced with at any given time.
In spite of numerous hours of collective voluntary labour, sponsor support and kind offers from various suppliers and co-operative partners, the FOM is going to need help, supporters as well as economic means to be able to reach the aims described. We hope that you, appreciating the value of attaining the goals we have for the mining community at Litlabø, will support us in our work.
We welcome new members, both active and passive. We have room for and need of everyone. If you would like more information, membership or a guided walk, contact us!
* Svein Jæger Koppang, Secretary – phone 53 41 30 17 e-mail