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Photographers engaged in the preservation campaign of Flanders’ last coal processing plant in Beringen (Belgium)

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4:30 PM, Lundi 29 Août 2022 (20 minutes)
Few years after closure (1989) of the coalmine in Beringen, all constructions remaining were protected as "Historical Monument". Since legal protection was adopted (in 1994) this coalmine is the only one of the flemish basin (Province of Limburg) to be integrally protected. In 2013, the impressive coal processing building (or 'coal washing plant') was threatened with demolition for the first time, as the public authorities suffered of pressure by real estate agency B-Mine, redeveloping these mine grounds partially for new commercial uses such as parking spaces, connected with a shopping and offices area nearby. After a successful press campaign in 2014, the competent Minister luckily decided to maintain the legal protection status of the coal washing plant. Today again, the owner (LRM) and the development agency (B-Mine) insist to demolish partly the outstanding industrial installations. Once again industrial heritage experts join their efforts to convince the owner and public authorities of the uniqueness of the coal processing plant. An actual project is the photography exhibition "The coal processing plant in Beringen - past, present and future", now in preparaion and who will be presented in the Museum of Industry Ghent (June 15th > 31th July 2021). Several well known photographers (Clemens Schuelgen, Danny Veys, Bernard Bay a.o.), coached by the organising team (ETWIE, Het Vervolg and Patrick Viaene) hope to convince the visitors of the qualities and values of this industrial heritage. The exhibition and accompanying publication will act as a invitation for the owner and public authorities to assure a sustainable future for the plant, integrating this building in the mine museum, yet operating in another building on site and/or proposing another suitable adaptive re-use for this unique industrial monument.

Patrick Viaene


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