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We have started a 'project' with the former neutral-Moresnet. Moresnet was the name for a 'temporary-country' (1816-1919), now in Belgium SW from Aachen. It had famous Zn/Pb-mines like La Calamine/Kelmis, Schmalgraf (and Oskar Stollen), Auenberg, Fossey (and Prester/Lindengraben), Rabotrath, Plombieres/Bleyberg etc... It will take the next months to visit and publish all of the former interesting sites. At the moment there are almost no possibilities anymore for collecting minerals. A great museum on the mining industry is the 'Göhltalmuseum' in Kelmis.
The Oskar-Stollen of the Schmalgraf mine (with the major dumps):
The Schmalgraf Schacht- and Halden terrain:
There is a book, 483 pages thick..., about all the mines in the region ['Atlas des gisements plombo-zinciferes du synclinorium de verviers (est de belgique) par L. Dejonghe, F. Ladeuze et D. Jans' from Memoires Explicatifs Cartes Geologiques et Minieres de la Belgique - 1993/33]. The book unfortinately has no pictures... So, we will make some ;-)
The Schmalgraf-mine (1868-1932) was one of the biggest mines in the region, it mined about 750.000 tons containing 22.621 tons Calamine, 333.654 Sphalerit, 21.188 tons Galenit and 29.300 tons Pyrit. It was also the deepest mine in the region (190 meters deep). The mine was also named: Comborn-Komborn (15th century), Driesch(schacht) and Klousterschacht. It was owned as almost all the mines (there was some 'illegal' mining here) by the S.A. Vieille Montagne. You see the sign 'VM' at more mine entries here.
The Oskar Stollen is named after Oskar Bilharz, who gave the order to build the Stollen, to transport the ore by small rail to the Zinc-factory/melters in Kelmis. You can still follow the route in the terrain next to the Lontzenerbach, although the rail is gone.
You cannot find any minerals here... (well finds are possible on dumps...). It's only interesting for mining historical aspects, and it's a nice walk :-) Also see: buysen.com
This mine is about 100 m. north of the Oskar, on the opposite side of the Lontzenerbach. The plate has VM on it and 'Auenberg'. But 'Auenberg', 'Alden Bergh', 'Ouden Bergh', 'Auwe Berg' or 'Alte Berg' ('old mountain') all mean the same, as does 'Vieille Montagne'... :-) I cannot find this mine on any map I have, nor in the 'big book'. Anyone?
The former Fossey mines were also owned by the S.A. Vieille Montagne, although they started as 'illegal' mines. The mining activity started in 1806 and stopped in 1906 (Filon de Prester, also through the Presterstollen) and 1918 (Filon de Lindengraben). It was partly open mining and partly underground. The mining stopped because of a shortage in coal...
(text and pictures by Frank de Wit)
There was also mining activity around Rabotrath (also known as 'Nouvelle Montagne in the 18th cent., 'Mine Rudolph in the 19th cent., Raboltraedt and Rabbotrath).
The mining started in the 15th cent, was taken over by the S.A. Vieille Montagne in 1847 who reworked old dumps, and ended in 1852.
The Calamine veins are visible in the quarry.
More to come when I have time... (mines around Rabotrath etc.)
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