• Henrik Haupt

Mineurs W: Abandoned coal mine

Updated: May 10

Abandoned coal mine in France

My visit to the very rusty abandoned mine

Mineurs W, as this ancient coal mine in France is called, was very decaying. Exactly as I love to see it, wherever I stepped, I could feel the metal plates beneath me giving way, and in several places, they were rusted and therefore crumbled as soon as I put weight on my leg.

So it was a bit of a challenge to explore this place because everywhere I had to go, I had to have both hands on the railing to take some of the weight off my legs.

It turned out to be a challenge to find a way into these halls. Because there were places I could not walk, I had to find a big enough hole to get through. And yes, there was also a museum next door to this abandoned mine. That meant that many people were walking around that I did not want to be seen by.

Luckily I found a way in, and it was a sight for sore eyes that met me.

Abandoned decayed coal mine in France - Mineurs W

Like most other mines I have visited, the mine shaft itself has shut down long ago, and it is unfortunately not possible to get into. They fill the shaft with concrete like a large plug so that the shaft is sealed.

In some places, however, they use the hole to pull up natural gas.

You see the mine shaft itself in the picture above. The shaft was used to send mine carts and personnel down into the mine. The mine carts would run on rails around the entire colliery to get emptied. When finished, they were sent down to the mine again to get filled up with new coal.

The three pictures below show part of the rails on which the mine carts drove around the plant. The round boxes you can see in the pictures were used to rotate the carts to get them emptied of coal.

Abandoned decayed coal mine in France
Control panel in abandoned coal mine in France

In the two pictures below, you can see the part of the coal plant where the coal was transported around to various processes at the plant before the coal was sent on its way. It happened with train carriages, which were still parked on the rails below the colliery.

This part was the first thing I got into, and it was a bit difficult to get an overview of how it was connected.

Abandoned coal mine
Yellow details in abandoned coal mine

I wish I could be allowed to see such a coal mine and the colliery while it is still active. But the mines are disappearing just as slowly, and in neighbouring Germany, the last coal mine was closed in 2019.

I love exploring old industrial buildings here. They always have so many interesting details to explore and photograph.

Mineurs W - Abandoned coal mine in France

I have seen quite a few abandoned coal mines. One of the ones I spent most hours exploring is a huge colliery in Germany. Here you can see pictures of the coal mine that is without a doubt the largest I have seen is Zeche DB.