Charbonnage du Hasard Cheratte
THE ABANDONED MINE IN BELGIUM
This old coal mine named ‘Charbonnage du Hasard Cheratte, operated until 1977. It was the main colliery of the ‘Société Anonyme des Charbonnages du Hasard’ with four shafts. The site was eventually reconverted in 2020.
The first shaft was dug in 1850 to extract dice coal and closed for the first time in 1877 following an accident. The buildings were demolished, but eventually the mine reopened 30 years later in 1907.
The main building is a typical Malakoff tower, built in 1907. In fact this architecture style was named after a building in the Russian town Sebastopol. Many towers in the German Ruhrgebied have a similar Malakoff look. In detail it looks like an ancient castle with knights firing crossbows to the enemy. But it was in fact a building full of both dressing rooms and showers for the miners. The highest tower housed Shaft 1, it was later used as a rescue shaft. A washhouse was built in 1920 by the Beer de Jemeppe company, and a second extraction mine with a metal tower opened in 1927. A third mine shaft with headframe was built between 1927 and 1947. The deepest shaft is 480 meter deep.
Abandoned in one day
It’s strange when you walk through the buildings, everything is just the same as almost 25 years ago when the place was closed down. A newspaper from 1976 tells us the first photos of Mars are taken with the Viking I rocket. Hasard Cheratte was abandoned in just one day. The miners turning up that day for work could turn back immediately, the gate was closed. Sometimes it feels that a miner could walk in to get his coat and hat from his locker, but the coat and hat haven’t been touched for over 25 years. The site was partly demolished and partly reconverted in 2019. I visited ‘Charbonnage du Hasard Cheratte’ in 2005 and 2007.