vorige Hefte

Jirí Majer:
History of Bohemian Uranium Mining

The Czech Republic's uranium deposits are located in the Bohemian massif extending across the whole of Bohemia and the western part of Moravia and Silesia. The massif also reaches as far as Poland, Germany and Austria and forms part of the western section of the Carpathians. The uranium deposits in Bohemia are widely scattered and of highly different morphological and genetic types. Some of the deposits have complicated geological, hydrological and other conditions and are at various depths.

Intensive mining after 1945 allowed progress to be made in geological and mineralogical research. In Jáchymov, 800 ore veins or structures with uranium formation were found. Of that total, 400 were exploited. In the P?íbram district, there were 2,500 primary and secondary veins, most of which were worked. A total of 59 basic minerals containing uranium were identified.

The essay covers the extraction and utilisation of Bohemian uranium ores as well as the associated mining techniques in two key periods. While the long first phase saw the use of uranium for dye production and discovery of the element radium, uranium mining was greatly intensified after 1945 as part of the global arms race. To reach the output levels demanded by the USSR, the CSSR used between 1945 and about 1960 a labour recruitment system that showed signs of coercion.