Shaft Complex 371 was one of the first large-scale shaft plants for uranium ore mining that was built after 1950 by the SAG/SDAG Wismut (Soviet-German stock company). By the 1970s this production centre on the Hartenstein field was pivotal to the progression of the Wismut incorporated company into the third largest uranium producer in the world during the second half of the 20th century. Almost all other shafts and uranium production sites in the mining field were demolished and remediated, but a strong public preservation movement combined with the goodwill of the present company and local authorities ensured the preservation, and future conservation, of Shaft Complex 371.
The well-preserved surface installations of Shaft Complex 371 were built from 1956 onwards as the shaft was developed. They comprise Shaft 371 itself (over 1,800 m deep and capped and monitored for environmental purposes), the shaft-head ensemble of the headframe and associated buildings including machine house with in situ winding machine and work shop, and a large central administration building that retains the authentic working functions of a uranium mine. Features anticipated at such a modern mine include a preserved lamp station, entry and exit routes for man-riding and, on the third floor, a minecart circuit almost entirely preserved. Less familiar, on the first floor, will be the rubber boots washing facility and other radiation-based controls at this shaft that yielded more than 73,000 tonnes of uranium.