The exploitation of the coal mine in Memaliaj started in 1946, and
turned into a real industrial center, causing the foundation of the
The interest for this rich mining area started in the ‘30s, with the Italian expeditions that the old residents of this area still remember. During communism, the mine turned into one of the main production centers in the country. The works for opening new galleries have caused dozens of victims.
In 1990 there were around 4000 people working in these mines, and the capacity reached 500.000 tons per year. After the ‘90s, the mine was left to degradation, due to the lack of investments. The number of workers fell with the decreased production level. The mine was finally closed in 1999.
Another miner, Skender Tata, who has contributed for 23 years as a technician in the mine, says that the closure of the mine was the doom of the small town of Memaliaj.
Each Memaliaj house has a former miner, and half of them live on dole. The population has been halved due to emigration and poverty. The massive iron skeletons in the mines are getting robbed each day to be sold for scrap metal.
Specialists say that the capacity of this mine is very high and investments could return it into function, but until now, these ruins are the only things that remain from an industrial activity that went on for decades.