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During the 1950s, Gunkanjima became one of the most densely populated places in the world with over 5,000 inhabitants. But after an accident and the restructuring of the Mitsubishi mining project, the mine closed in January 1974. The last inhabitants deserted the island, the connection by boat was suspended, and since then Gunkanjima has become a ghost town.
The cycle of publications of photography by Bernd and Hilla Becher, documenting the monuments of industrial culture worldwide, continues with Coal Mine Hannibal. The Hannibal coal mine in Bochum-Hofstede was shut down on March 31, 1973.