On our way back to Rovaniemi at the end of our Lappish holidays we visited the Lampivaara Amethyst Mine located in Pyhä-Luosto National Park.
To get to the mine we had to walk about 2km across the forest. The route was very nice, but – as always – there were plenty of annoying mosquitos.
Visitors enter the mine in groups and the gate is opened every hour. The visit starts with a short guided tour in which mine worker tells us a little about amethyst and the mine itself and afterwards the whole group goes to the digging area to search for gems.
Finns came up with a very clever idea of how to make the most of the mine. They estimated that if they were using machinery for excavation, amethyst would be gone in 5 years. Meanwhile, when using traditional methods (hands and little hammer…) the mine will sustain for another 500 years. So they chose the latter option creating a lucrative business that will last for ages.
There is a rule that each visitor can take with him/her only one stone that can be hidden in a fist. If you wish to take more or if you find a larger stone, you have to negotiate with the mine employee. All excavated stones, which were not taken by the visitors, stay in the possession of the mine. Isn’t that the smartest thing ever? It’s not even a free labour force. It’s a labour force that pays for its work to the company ;-)
Rules are rules, but when N went to negotiate her smile was all that was needed. And so she was allowed to take with her two stones.
After visiting the mine we watched yet another lazy reindeers, had lunch and played on the playground. And then we went back to Rovaniemi.