Beatrix

Beatrix Mine: construction abandoned 1962.

Production : 0 tons

Mine site location: vincinity of Herkenbosch

Number of shafts completed: 2

The Beatrix mine was to be situated near Herkenbosch, about 10 km east of the town of Roermond. Production was planned to be about 1.8 million tons per year. It would have been the first mine of the Peel coal fields that were seen as a replacement for the increasingly depleted reserves in South-Limburg. The Beatrix mine is located almost at the end of a long and small strip of land surrounded by German territory, hence, and as peculiarity, the majority of its mining fields are not located in the Netherlands, but in Germany. The Beatrix mine would have been connected to the mine Sophia Jacoba in HĆ¼ckelhoven, Germany (closed 1997).

The history of the construction activities has been accurately documented in the book of Andre Weijts (Staatsmijn Beatrix in beeld, Europese bibliotheek, Zaltbommel, 1998). The coal was first discovered in 1907 by mining pioneer Georg Lodewijk SchlĆ¼sen, who did everything he could to develop the deposits, but was unsuccesful. He believed in the potential of the fields until his death in 1953. A year later, in 1954, the actual construction started by Staatsmijnen (DSM), but the worsening economic position of Dutch coal mining lead to a delay in the construction and finally, in 1962, in complete abandoning of the mine construction. The delving of the shafts was then already completed. They were not filled as with other mines, but conserved, and just closed by heavy concrete lids. In the 1980's one of the shafts was put to use by a company who trained divers and tested diving equipment. DSM still owns the concession.

The shaft construction itself by means of drilling was innovative, and a number of technical papers has been published about it. In the 1950's shaft drilling as such was not new, but never before shafts of such a large diameter (about 5.8 m internal diameter), and penetrating such a large package of unconsolidated overburden (about 450 meter) were ever constructed. Secondly, the shafts were lined with flexible steel walls, allowing some movement of the shaft tubes without loosing their sealing properties. It allowed the mining of coal much closer to the shafts as usual.

Several recent photographs show the mine site, after 43 years of conservation. The former mine is now located in a wildlife reservation ("De Meinweg").