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100th anniversary of the underground hydroelectric power plant in Kremnica

€10 silver collector coin

The obverse side of the coin
The reverse side of the coin

Around the town of Kremnica, miners have for centuries been drawing out natural treasures from the earth. The need to find a symbiosis between mining activity and water, which for miners is a good servant but bad master, gave rise to electricity generation, something we take for granted today. Located in spaces at the level of Kremnica’s Main Hereditary Adit, 245 metres below ground, an underground hydroelectric plant has since 1921 been transforming strong flowing water into electrical energy. It is a major feat of technical prowess. The length of the adit between shaft IV at Kremnica and its outlet at the Hron River is 11 km. The elevation over that distance is only 5.5 metres, and in places the water seems to flow into the hill. Shaft IV is today the only operational shaft at this location. The shaft, engine room, and hoist still operate in their original condition. With water flowing in at a rate of 1 200 litres per second, the plant has a generating capacity of 2.16 MW. With such plants being rare in Europe, the underground hydroelectric plant in Kremnica has been designated a Slovak national cultural heritage site. Its operator, the mining company Kremnická banská spoločnosť, s.r.o., aims to maintain the plant’s uniqueness and beauty, just as we have inherited it.

  • Coin description

    The obverse depicts the wheel of the hoist that services the shaft above the underground hydroelectric plant in Kremnica. To the upper right of this image is the Slovak coat-of-arms, splitting the year of issuance ‘2021’. The name of the issuing country ‘SLOVENSKO’ is inscribed along the upper-left edge. At the bottom of the design are a stylised letter ‘N’, referring to the coin’s designer Štefan Novotný, and the mint mark of the Kremnica Mint (Mincovňa Kremnica), consisting of the letters ‘MK’ placed between two dies.

    The reverse image depicts, in the lower right quadrant, the Kremnica underground hydroelectric power plant and, on the left side, the mine’s surface buildings connected with the Turčekovský water pipeline and with subterranean mine workings. The lower left quadrant includes an upper aperture on to a rail switch inside the mine and a lower aperture showing water flowing out of the adit. The words ‘PODZEMNÁ VODNÁ ELEKTRÁREŇ KREMNICA’ (Kremnica underground hydroelectric plant) are inscribed along the edge of the design. The coin’s denomination and currency ‘10 EURO’ appears in the space above the image. In the top part of the image are the years ‘1921’ and ‘2021’, separated by the mining symbol of a hammer and pick.

  • Coin details
    Designer:Štefan Novotný
    Composition:.900 silver, .100 copper
    Weight:18 g
    Diameter:34 mm
    (Electricity – The new gold for Kremnica miners)
    Producer:Kremnica Mint
    Engraver:Dalibor Schmidt
    Issuing volume:2,600 coins in brilliant uncirculated quality
    6,200 coins in proof quality
    Issuing date:21 April 2021