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Dutch quarry to shut down after 100 years

 

A major cement works and quarry at St Pietersburg in The Netherlands is shutting down and will be redeveloped into a nature reserve.

The Eerste Nederlandsche Cement Industry (ENCI) works will stop at the end of August and will be rehabilitated into a nature reserve and recreation hub. The factory is part of the HeidelbergCement Group

In 2018, the site stopped quarrying for limestone, and has since received deliveries of raw materials for cement making delivered by ship.

Due to its location being unsuitable for larger vessels, along with increased maintenance costs, the decision has been made to shut the quarry.

“Economically it makes sense, but from a local perspective, and for our team, it is a real shame,” director Günther Gach told NOS.

ENCI’s two remaining cement works in the Netherlands, in Ijmuiden and Rotterdam will remain open.

A slab of history

Limestone has been quarried at the St Pietersburg hill area for about 2000 years – the same place where ENCI’s cement works quarry is shutting down.

The Romans first began digging marl – which is a softer version of limestone – and created a labyrinth of 20,000 tunnels and passageways.

The ancient quarry network crosses the borders of Belgium and The Netherlands, and has been used for vastly different purposes in the past 200 years.

In the 19th century, the underground labyrinth was used by Jesuit monks, and was later used as a factory for World War II airplane parts by Nazi Germany, then as a doomsday bunker for NATO.

The floor plan of the ancient Roman quarry. Images courtesy of bldblog.com.

Today, it serves as a tourist attraction as part of the Limburg Landscape Foundation.

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