CHARBONNAGES DE FRANCE
SIÈGE WENDEL / LAVOIR 3
coal mine (enrichment plant) / Petite-Rosselle / (1856) 1958 - 1986 / 2010
The coal deposits of Petite Rosselle were discovered in 1856 by Emile Vuillemin, an engineer appointed by the Compagnie Anonyme des Mines de Stiring. The latter was a mining company founded by Charles de Wendel, an exponent of the renowned French dynasty of iron and steelmaking entrepreneurs. After several drillings, coal extraction started in 1862 and expanded until 1889 through the excavation of four shafts: Wendel 1 (1865), Wendel 2 (1871), Vuillemin 1 (1881) and Vuillemin 2 (1889). Since 1890 - and for the following fifty years - the mine was run directly by Charles's descendants through their company Société de Wendel et Cie. The nationalization of the French coal industry in 1946 led the mine to be taken over by the public enterprise Charbonnages de France, and so largely modernized. The old Wendel 1/2 shafts were renovated while a third one, Wendel 3, was completed in 1953. In 1958 a brand new coal enrichment plant (Lavoir 3) was completed too: at the time it was the most modern one in the whole country, being able to treat 5000 daily t of coal. As result, in 1960 the Wendel mine employed around 5000 miners. However, activities slowly decreased until the stop of coal extraction in 1986 and the definitive closure in 1991. The whole site has been preserved and partially renovated to host a local mining history museum, inaugurated in 2006 - this does not include, for now, the Lavoir 3.