DB-ARCO: Databank of slate and coticule


Creation of a Geographical Information System (GIS) to model the geological data of the underground workings of the slate and coticule deposists in the commune of Vielsalm.

It is thus important to structure the geological and mining information still available. A large number of underground workings exploited the layers of slates and coticule on the territory of the commune of Vielsalm as well as in the neighbouring communes. Many plans of exploitation exist and have been digitalized within a GIS system. The localization of underground slate workings in nature reserve's, as well as the development of cultural tourism (industrial archeology) in this part of the "High Ardenne" requires a management plan and a valorization strategy for this heritage.


The principal data (available to the Walloon Region, the Archives of the State, the Center for History of Sciences and Techniques, the Geological Survey of Belgium) related to the plans of the underground workings (at scale 1/100) were digitized, georeferenced in GIS, and have been vectorized. A data base is constructed to integrate geological information and "underground workings" techniques described on the plans (type and localization of the galleries entries, shafts; length of the galleries, surface and volume of the exploited rooms, owner of the concession, exploitation dates, etc).

Fieldwork will be necessary to compare the cartographic data with the topographic reality and will include:

  • GPS measurements of the galleries entries, extraction and ventilation shafts,
  • location of mining infrastructures related to the underground workings,
  • location of possible collapse zones related to the underground workings, etc.

The project focuses, in a first phase (see figure), on the slate (in blue) and coticule (in yellow) deposits, indicated in the commune of Vielsalm. Other slate deposits of Belgium will be included in the project in a second phase.

Related media(s)
Area covered by the program DB-ARCO
Internal member(s)
Xavier Devleeschouwer
Eric Goemaere
Other member(s)
C. Mullard (geologist, GSB)
D. Pacyna (mining ingeneer, Walloon Region - DGRNE)
A. Hanson (geologist, Fondation Universitaire Luxembourgeoise)
C. Hemroulle (graduate, DNF, Quartering of Vielsalm)
J. Fairon (biologist, RBINS)
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