The twin slag heaps of 11/19 at Loos-en-Gohelle are among the 5 major mining sites listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. They are also the highest slag heaps in Europe.
Close to the Louvre-Lens museum, it’s a firm favourite with visitors for its mining history, wide-open spaces for walking and sporting activities.
The slag heaps of 11/19
is a symbol of the area’s reconversion…
The associated slag heaps and mining town also illustrate the profound impact of the mining system on the landscape.
The two slag heaps at 11/19 are now being redeveloped with a focus on mining remembrance, culture and sustainable development.
A place of mining memory
When coal seams were discovered in 1850 and mined, the rural village of the 19th century was transformed into a mining town.
The coal extraction site created by the Société des Mines de Lens operated from 1894 to 1986 and has retained most of its facilities.
Base 11/19 closed in 1986. Today, it is one of the emblematic sites of the region’s mining heritage.
A slag heap is a small artificial mountain built by the accumulation of mine tailings during coal extraction, consisting mainly of shale, with smaller quantities of carbonaceous sandstone and various other residues.
From the beginning of coal mining to the present day, the perception of slag heaps has changed considerably. Throughout the mining period, slag heaps were regarded as uninteresting waste dumps.
In the 1970s, they were first inventoried, taking into account their market value and their potential for recovering by-products: carbon particles and shale.
In the 1990s, scientists and the CPIE Chaîne des terrils revealed the ecological and historical interest of these sites.
A reference centre
for sustainable development
Emblematic of the past, Base 11/19 shows the way to the future with high added-value activities that are now federating: eco-construction, renewable energies, eco-materials… It alone sums up the trajectory of the region: from mining to sustainable development.
Base 11/19 is now the site of innovative development that respects people and their environment, and provides around a hundred jobs.
The structures that have chosen to set up here include the Centre Permanent d’Initiatives pour l’Environnement Chaîne des Terrils (CPIE), the Centre de Création et de Développement des Eco-Entreprises (Cd2e), the Pépinière d’éco-entreprises, etc.
Base 11/19 has been rehabilitated using eco-construction techniques. This was coupled with ambitious efforts to reduce energy demand and produce energy locally.
Subsequently, High Environmental Quality (HQE) specifications are now systematically applied to the base’s development work.
A place to live
The 11/19 base at Loos-en-Gohelle is also ideal for family walks and hikes.
159 animal species (birds, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, dragonflies and butterflies) and 190 plant species… The 11/19 spoil heaps offer an abundance of flora and fauna.
Trail des pyramides noires, course des terrils…
The spoil heaps have become ideal terrain for walkers, hikers and runners…
For the record, the numbers refer to the former mine shafts: 11 for the 1920s metal headframe (built in 1894, destroyed during WWI and rebuilt afterwards) and 19 for the 1960 concrete concentration tower.
All year round, the CPIE Chaîne des Terrils mission organizes guided tours.
For further information:
⇒ This visit is accompanied by Emilie Nemeth
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