Mining Archive

In Germany, the demise of the industrial society has brought about drastic structural changes in recent decades, particularly in mining. Hundreds of coal, ore and potash mines have been closed down. To preserve their written legacy as a “commemoration of German mining”, the Mining Archive (Bergbau-Archiv, BBA) was founded on 1 July 1969 by the DMT-Gesellschaft für Lehre und Bildung mbH (German Mining Society for Teaching and Training) (then the WBK), the Wirtschaftsvereinigung Bergbau (German Mining Federation) and the Gesamtverband Steinkohle (German Coal Association) (then the Gesamtverband des deutschen Steinkohlenbergbaus).

In 2002 and 2010 the BBA was awarded the title “Business Archive of the Year” by the Vereinigung deutscher Wirtschaftsarchivare e.V. (Association of German Business Archivists).

Mining Archive

Main functions

The BBA secures, preserves and indexes files, maps, mine plans, photos and films from the German mining industry. It is an industrial archive with a supra-regional remit, which makes its collections available to a large number of interested users. It also serves as a document and information centre for all questions of industrial mining history, and carries out its own research activities in this area.


The BBA is a corporate member of the Verband deutscher Archivarinnen und Archivare e.V. (VdA, Federation of German Archivists), and of the Vereinigung deutscher Wirtschaftsarchivare e.V. (VdW, Association of German Business Archivists). It is also one of the founding institutions of the Archives Working Group of the Leibnitz Association. Lastly, it collaborates with numerous historical associations and institutions, including those specializing in mining history.


The BBA’s archive material takes up about 6000 metres of shelf space in total. This is currently made up of 315 collections, divided into four groups:

  • Coal mining companies
  • Ore mining companies
  • Mining unions
  • Nachlässe

There are also 33 special collections, containing e.g. 2000 posters and 2500 films and videos.

  • Evelyn Kroker: Das Bergbau-Archiv Bochum und seine Bestände, Bochum 2001.

The BBA publishes its own series “Schriften des Bergbau-Archivs” (Publications of the Mining Archive), which currently includes 25 independent publications.