Preserving History – Open-pit And Underground Quarries Of Belgium
Rediscovering Belgian History.
By Alan & A Good Friend | A Belgian Duo
Quarries in Belgium
Definition of a quarry.
Minerals and its uses
Why we need them minerals?
What is a mineral?
“A mineral is an element or a chemical compound that is normally crystalline and that has been formed as a result of geological processes.”
Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev published the first recognizable periodic table in 1869
Today, mining is less and less significant business in Belgium and there are many minerals that are being imported from other countries in Europe and the rest of the world.
Our key natural resources include industrial and construction materials such as limestone, cement, silica sand, and dolomite. The leading mineral operations in Belgium include the production of steel and the refining of zinc & copper.
Belgium also produces cobalt, tin, cadmium, tellurium, selenium, and germanium. The production of construction and industrial materials such as silica sand, limestone, cement and dolomite contributes a lot to Belgium’s well-developed industrial minerals sector.
Belgium saw an increase in its production of pig iron and crude steel due to an increasing demand for steel and the recovery of the world’s steel industry. The production of crude steel in Belgium increased by 53% and that of pig iron increased by 43.5% in 2010.
Despite the cost of our factories and workforce expenses our steel undustry collapsed significantly and moved thereby from west Europe to east Europe, leaving a lot of factories abandoned and exposed to squatters, urban explorers and vandalists alike.
Where were they also used for?
Industrialization brouth people to the cities where work was and where people could earn enough to support their hungry families in the countryside.
Meanwhile underground everything was empty and excavated by many men. Rocks were split open and the tunnels formed huge underground galleries which eventually could still be used as a second purpose.
And so these quarries were used for growing mushrooms. Rows of mushroom beds were made with the help of horse poo and in the picture below this practice can still be found today.
We explored this quarry on 23 December 2016.
What was it we rediscovered?
I was just a little surprised there was still active water pumping going on in some quarries we have explored, of course, otherwise the quarry would have been completely flooded with rainwater. Hence the mine was still accessible to us, the explorers.
Although these mines are actually forbidden to enter, I was guided by an expert who explored many mines before. Deep underground and open-pit ones.
We knew what we were doing and we did it carefully.
So, what did we rediscover?
Equipment was in some of them still there and ready to use at any given moment. Fresh truck tracks leading in the angled mine were a sign of recent life inside this rocky cave where water was being pumped out.
These scenes gave us beautiful pictures as a result.
Small lakes can be seen here and we remind you to not dare to take a swim in it as it can be very cold water and it isn’t the best water to swim in.
Small volcanoes under the water can be seen, which was a very cool sight, I admit.
The crystal clear water was perfect to photograph and the ground beneath it could be seen from afar.
Be sure to bring enough light in case you want to enter this exquisite underground maze of tunnels!