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Graphite has been mined in the region around Kropfmühl for some 2,500 years. The Celts initially used the ore to produce fire-resistant and water-proof containers. As the Celts moved on, so did their knowledge of extracting and refining graphite in the Bavarian Forest. And it wasn’t until the Middle Ages that farmers once again began to intensively look into the shiny grey material once more and excavate earth containing graphite in their fields.

The ore helped many farmers achieve considerable riches. The industrial revolution at the beginning of the 19th century, however, transformed agricultural Germany into an industrial state and saw rural graphite mining replaced with professional extraction operations. With the founding of the German Empire in 1871, the GK Group was born.

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