Carrière de Quenast

Built: 1895

Abandoned: 2010

Demolished: 2018

Visited: 2017

Quenast, Brabant Wallon, Belgium

Quenast quarry is the largest open pit quarry in Europe with an area of 140 hectares and a maximal depth of 125m. The quarry was used to extract Porphyry to make setts. These setts are cobblestones, used on many old Belgium roads. The Porphyry deposit of Brabant Wallon has been known since the end of the Middle Ages. Porphyry is an extremely hard and resistant rock that formed 435 million years ago. The first company started mining in the 17th century. In 1705, there are already seven main quarries as well as several small mining companies.

Production rises to more than a million and a half paving stones a year and the reputation of the products is rapidly expanding beyond the Belgian borders. By the end of the 18th century, the improvement of drainage techniques, the mechanization of quarries and the construction of the Brussels-Charleroi canal enabled the quarries to grow.

Carrières de Porphyre de Quenast

In 1846, Joseph Zaman took over the management and rebranded the company name to Société Civile Zaman et Compagnie. In 1864 the company was taken over and renamed to Société Anonyme des Carrières de Porphyre de Quenast. Adolphe Urban took over the management of the company in 1869. He built a 125 meters long tunnel to connect the extraction site to the pavement factory. Nearly 250,000 tons of paving stones were produced and exported all over the world.

In 1946, the company merged with Nouvelles Carrières du Brabant and not much later with Carrières de l’Ermitage. After the war, the entire road network was modernized and the production of cobblestones was completely stopped in the 1950s. In 1985, Gralex Beton acquired the quarry. They produce crushed porphyry for use in beton and asphalt. Its current production is 1.800.000 tons of porphyry per year. Today the quarry is still a workplace of sixty people. The photos are taken in the power and pumping station in an abandoned part of the site.

Photos Carrière de Quenast

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