Mining life in Bükkábrány began much earlier than the opening of the lignite mine, as a lot of people had worked in the underground mines of the area. This is the reason that the locals keep both opencast and underground mining traditions alive. The culture is the same--only the technology has changed. This technology is truly remarkable! Gigantic machines devour the ground, revealing its unique facets. Moreover, the world's largest compact bucket-wheel excavator is used here!
The heritage of the leading global institution
The student traditions of the centuries-old world's first academic technical institution were included in the National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
The mining-metallurgy institution of learning, established in 1735 in Selmecbánya by Maria Theresa, sovereign princess of Austria, queen of Hungary and Czech, was developed into an academy in a span of a mere three decades. The student traditions developed here from the end of the 18th century had a great influence on Hungarian mining culture as a whole. The academic students of the successor institutions further cherish these traditions by class. These traditions can be seen in the Miners' Hymn, in the shape and silver-green ornaments of the uniform, in the greeting "Good luck!" – The solid professional community of miners is also a testament to tradition.
The Bükkábrány Miners Heritage Association is also such a community. They were responsible for – among other achievements – the construction of the former Miners Memorial as well as its first exhibition. Many of the objects gathered then can still be seen today – memorial mugs of traditional events, old underground and opencast mining tools and equipment, measuring tools, emergency devices...
A mine digging into the past
Bükkábrány was founded in 1949, with the joining of two villages: Lower and Upper Ábrány. This era favored industry. Thus, more people of Bükkábrány have worked within the industry than in agriculture. There were a lot of volunteers for work in the underground mines of the Borsod coal basin; by 1985, an opencast mine was opened in the border of the settlement. At first it was only intended for public supply; however, after opening, it was connected to the power plant supply. Aside from the Visont mine, this opencast mine is the fuel supply for the Mátra powerplant.
Before bucket-wheels conquer more and more land, archaeologists search for secrets of the past at the largest excavation site in the country. However, the mine has secrets of its own – the visitor may face sometimes mysterious, sometimes surreal, and sometimes bedazzling sights. The first lignite layer is 60 meters below the surface. This is almost 7 million years of travel through the earth's clayey-sandy-silty layers.
Waste-devouring world record-holder
The waste is stripped with bucket-wheel excavators while the lignite is stripped with bucket-chain excavators connected to band wagons, which transfer the extracted rock and coal through the applicable band guiding tracks to the waste heaps or to the railway carriages leading to the power plant.
An almost 30 kilometer long belt track is led through the mine, forearm-thick cables supply the machinery with electricity, the size of the bucket wheels' teeth are also comparable to an adult male's forearm; the largest heap-arranger machine is 42 meters in height (a ten-story house is approx. 33 meters). Moreover, the world's largest compact bucket-wheel excavator is used here. The MT-14 was assembled in 8 months from production parts. Its weight is 1859 tons (= 2213 VW Bugs); ideally, using its 12 meters diameter bucket wheel, it can extract 6700 square meters (more than three Olympic swimming pools) of rock. Compared to these giants, everyday heavy machinery (front-end loaders, cranes, one-shovel loaders, trucks) seem like busy ants.