In 1992, the last of the 7 Limburg coal mines, the Heusden-Zolder colliery, closed its gates for good.
LRM is the successor entity of the former colliery sites and administers what is left of the mining heritage. Courtesy of LRM, the former mining sites have been radically transformed.
Today, it is no longer the underground that is mined, but the future:
The Beringenmining site encompasses 100,000 m² of existing heritage buildings, making it the single biggest industrial heritage site in Flanders and unique in Europe. Of all the other former mining sites in Limburg, it is the only site where the industrial heart of the colliery has been preserved.
Under the header of ‘be-MINE’, the site is now being redeveloped as a tourist-recreational project, in which urban functions such as housing, work and shopping are harmoniously balanced and interwoven. The master plan for the redevelopment of 32 hectares of colliery grounds has given the historical location a worthy, valuable and contemporary new lease of life.
Terhills stretches across the former mining site of Eisden, taking in some 365 ha. The area is being transformed into a unique tourist destination that offers natural beauty, recreation, retail and great experiential value. A number of projects at the site are already up and running, including the Terhills Cablepark, the Terhills Hotel and Connecterra, the main entrance gate to the Hoge Kempen National Park. A new holiday resort is currently on the drawing table, to be built in association with Pierre & Vacances. In addition, the ‘Elaisa’ wellness complex and the ‘Pure Shopping’ retail project are under development.
Today, the Waterschei mining site in Genk has been renamed as “Thor Park”. It is made up of the iconic main building of the former mining site which is in the middle of a large-scale restoration, a high-end business park and the EnergyVille science park which has taken up residence here with 250 researchers. EnergyVille combines the KU Leuven, VITO and Imec institutions which conduct research into sustainable energy and smart energy systems. Thor Park also billets IncubaThor, which is now home base to a number of young start-up companies that focus on technology, energy and innovation.
Genk’s second mining site, Winterslag, has also been converted. Here, C-mine is a mecca of creativity. As early on as 2000, the idea came about to quarter a creative hub in the buildings of the old coal mine. In 2001, Genk local council bought the site from LRM. In 2005, the site was renamed as "C-mine". The creative hub develops activities in four distinct areas: education, creative economy, creative recreation and artistic creation and presentation. The site is also home to the ‘C-mine crib’ incubator, a service centre that provides support for young and fledgling creative companies.
In Houthalen-Helchteren, working closely with the local council, LRM was responsible for the renovation of the main building of the former coal mine into GreenVille, a cleantech service centre. GreenVille is a unique incubator for businesses that operate in the circular economy. Start-ups and small SMEs that work to develop new materials, new business models, solutions in the areas of mobility, water, etc. have found a home at Greenville. Young companies will find everything they need to enable them to thrive and grow: fully equipped offices and workplaces with all-in formulas, conference rooms, event rooms, an organic restaurant, a central reception and secretariat, coaching, … The remaining head frames behind the main building are owned by Houthalen-Helchteren local council.
When Zolder colliery closed its gates in 1992, this also marked the end of the last surviving pit in the Benelux. A number of important buildings of the former colliery were given protected status as a listed monument in 1993. Most of these buildings have since been redeveloped to serve different purposes. The former bathhouse now billets a cafeteria and also serves as the Centre for Sustainable Construction, a permanent information centre for ecological and sustainable structural engineering techniques. The administrative main building has retained its former purpose, albeit that it now serves as the registered office of various companies. The former lift shaft building is owned by the local council.
The Zwartberg mining site closed as early as 1966 and was completely dismantled. As such, it was never part of the mining heritage of which LRM is the custodian and caretaker.