The Grünthal Silver-Copper Liquation Works is located in the central Ore Mountains, west of the town of Olbernhau in the valley of the Flöha (river). The adjacent Natzschung (stream) at the German-Czech border runs within the east side of the complex. The property encompasses all building structures and the Unterer Hüttenteich (lower pond of the smelting complex), the broader setting in the buffer zone includes the system of water ditches providing the ponds with the water from the Natzschung (stream).
From the middle of the 16th century onwards, the site was a significant silver and copper production facility, smelting argentiferous copper ores in the so-called Saigerverfahren (liquation process). The mining master of Annaberg, Hans Leonard, established works in 1537. Argentiferous copper ore mines from the mines at the Pöhlberg Mining Landscape (9-DE) were processed here. The Saigerverfahren (liquation process) was developed in the 15th century in southern Germany. In his work ‘De re metallica’ published in 1556, Georgius Agricola (1494-1555) described the Saigerverfahren (liquation process) in detail.
The extensively preserved complex is a remarkable testimony of an independent Bergfabrik (smeltery and colony) as a production site with all production, administrative, social and infrastructural structures in the Ore Mountains. The Works is significant in both mining history and economic history. It is distinguished from other smelteries in the Ore Mountains both by its size and by its comprehensive collection of monuments. The complex includes a collection of buildings protected by a wall as well as further surrounding production facilities. Most of the buildings situated in this complex today are directly linked with the operating history of the liquation hut or the industry which succeeded it.
The inventory of well-preserved buildings consists of the most varied production facilities, administrative buildings and residential buildings. Adjacent, and annexed to the complex, is an exceptionally well-preserved copper battery and hammer mill in its original building and containing original and restored machinery. A leat supplied the works with water power, the waterwheel pit and infrastructure surviving. The water management system of the complex consists of two ponds (upper and lower water reservoir) collecting water from the nearby Natzschung (river) and a drainage system of the meadowland south of the complex (within the buffer zone). The ponds are connected to the complex by a water ditch.