THE ABANDONED MINE IN BELGIUM
‘Le Charbonnage d’Argenteau-Trembleur’ is an old mine in the Belgian town Blegny. Today the old buildings house a mine museum. It was the last coal mine in the North-East coal bassin.
The first coal was found in Blegny in the 16th century by the Monks of Val-Dieu, the owners of the land. Trembleur was the first coal mine in the area, it was built by industrialist Gaspar Corbesier in 1799. This marks the beginning of the industrial coal working. Corbesier’s descendants started a second pit in Argenteau close to Trembleur. In 1883 the mine companies of Trembleur and Argenteau merged to one big coal mining company. In 1887 the activities stop because the company is put into liquidation.
During the First World War the mine was abandoned and the shafts were flooded to prevent that the German Army would take over the mine. In 1919, mining starts again by the family Ausselet. In 1925 they started to use pneumatic drills and horses for underground transport. As a result the production grows rapidly and reaches 84.000 tons in 1931.
Second World War
The Second World War stopped the coal digging again. The shaft tower and the clock tower were blasted in 1940 to prevent it to be used by the enemy as an observation post. It took 3 years before the tower was rebuilt and active again. Production reaches 232.000 tons. The mine employed 680 mineworkers.
In 1958 the coal demand declined. The Belgium mines had a hard time surviving this crisis. Every year a new mine was closed. The last one, ‘Charbonnage d’Argenteau-Trembleur’ closes on March 31st, 1980. The Province of Liège bought the mine and the buildings were transformed as a museum with the name ‘Blegny Mine‘. The first visitors arrived in June 1980. The old miners now give tours though the buildings and into the underground. I took these photos of ‘Blegny mine’ in 2006 and 2008.