Marshland – 16 millions of years ago
In the Miocene Epoch of the history of Earth – about16 millions of years ago – a shallow inland sea landlocked from the world’s oceans was waving in the area. Special wildlife evolved in an environment less salty as a result of gradually becoming freshwater: the indented coastline with shallow bays was home to ostracods and cyanobacteria.
In the south – just outside present day Eger – a large rhyolitic supervolcano spread volcanic ash and rhyolite tufa covered the considerable organic matter decaying in the marshlands. The sea also often flooded coastal marshlands and it left thick sediment with pebbles. Over millions of years plant matter buried and no longer exposed to oxygen turned into coal and from the 19th century it was mined in the area.
History of coal mining
Wandering the Bükk mountains between 1765-69 Henrik Fazola discovered coal seam outcrops near Bátor and Egerbakta.
The first coal mine was opened in 1796 by the bishopric of Eger, owner of the area, in Szénkő-lápa, part of the territory of Bátor. Coal from this mine was used in the brick making kiln of the bishopric as people didn’t want to use it for heating because of its smell. Thus the mine was soon abandoned.
In the area of the bishopric coal mining gained new momentum in the 1960s. Three considerable coal beds were found near Bátor, Egerbakta and Szarvaskő and mining started in the area of Szénkő-Tólápa. The mine was working until 1867 when it stopped working because of water inrushes. Later it was abandoned as selling the mine was difficult in lack of interest and as a result of hard accessibility, although the price of a quintal of coal was 25 kreutzers, exactly half the price of coal from Brenberg.
“Production is low, because industry has to develop first before a higher demand for coal can occur” – as it was stated.
However, as a result, searching for coal started in the surrounding villages and even mine shafts were sunk near Hevesaranyos, Mikófalva, Mónosbél, and Fedémes.
The owners of Egercshi village, the Beniczky family, planned to establish a modern coal mine, but in the lack of funds opening a mine was only a plan for decades. By 1899 they managed to find investors and the mine opened in 1908.
The Eger-Szilvásvárad-Putnok railway was also built by then and it made taking the coal to the market easier. Near Bátor and Szarvaskő mining restarted only in 1921 and it lasted until 1947.
Finally the last tram of coal was raised in Egercsehi on 21. January 1990.