State Mines


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In 1899 the Dutch government, inspired by the success of the Honigmann brothers and Sarolea and their Oranje Nassau-I (ON-I) coal mine, initiated a commission to investigate if coal exploitation by the Dutch state was desirable. The commission decided in favour for state exploitation. It would make Dutch coal supply less dependant on foreign countries and/or companies. The Orange Nassau Mines were then in fact largely German. and also other mining activities initiated (e.g. Laura and Vereeniging) were foreign (Belgian) initiatives.

After the parliament agreed with the decision that was advocated by minister Lely, on the first of may 1902, the Dutch State Mines in Limburg were founded. The first director of the Company was H.J.E. Wenkebach, who also founded the Dutch steel company Hoogovens (later part of the Dutch-English company Corus, now since 2007 part of the Indian company Tata Steel). See also

H.J.E. Wenckebach (1861 - 1924)
first director of State Mines.

The first mine, named "Wilhelmina", named after Queen Wilhelmina, was started in 1903 in the concession ""Ernst" , later called Wilhelmina, in the town of Terwinselen, near Kerkrade. The neighbouring concession "Carl" (later named ON-II) was owned by the Honigmann brothers, and was being considered for exploitation at that time. The state mine Wilhelmina produced coal suited for domestic applications, and was kept relatively small. The production started in 1906.

Successively, the possibility of a second mine was now studied, and after five exploration drillings, the construction of the second mine, named "Emma" (after the mother of queen Wilhelmina), was started in 1908 near the town of Hoensbroek. Simultaneously, exploration was continued for a third mine, and it was decided to construct it near the village of Rumpen, in the community Brunssum. In 1911 the construction works were started for the shafts of the third state mine, named "Hendrik", after the husband of queen Wilhelmina. In 1915 the construction of the shafts was started for a fourth mine, named "Maurits", after a renowned 17th century member of the Dutch Royal Family. The mine was situated in Lutterade-Geleen.

The Emma mine started production in 1911. The Hendrik Mine started production in 1918. For both the Emma and Hendrik Mine, coal was at a larger depth than for the Wilhelmina mine and the Oranje Nassau mines.On the other hand, the mines produced coal suited for industrial applications (coke - gas), and in 1914, a coke factory for the Emma mine was planned. Near the Maurits mine, a second coke plant was constructed. In 1954, the construction of a fifth mine (named "Beatrix", after the at that time crown princess, and from 1980 till 2013 Queen of the Netherlands) was started at Herkenbosch near Roermond, but construction was abandoned in 1962.

The production of cokes and its related coal refinement and gas production, led to increasing chemical activities of the DSM, and next to the Maurits mine near Geleen, a large complex of chemical plants developed. In the 1960's the chemicals production was becoming more and more the main activity of the DSM. Production of chemicals for agricultural usage, plastics, and raw materials for e.g. nylon and related materials became ever more the activity on which the company trived. In the 1970's the company name was changed from Nederlandse Staatsmijnen (i.e. Dutch State Mines) into DSM. DSM is still a chemicals producer, long after the mines are closed (DSM).

Summary of mining activities:

Wilhelmina (1906 - 1969), production59.235.000 ton
Locality of mine site: Terwinselen

Emma (1911 - 1973), production109.032.000 ton
Locality of mine site: Hoensbroek

Hendrik (1915 -1963), production 61.203.000 ton ( the mine was in 1963 connected to and integrated with the Emma Mine)
Locality of mine site: Rumpen/ Brunssum

Maurits (1923 - 1967), production96.214.000 ton
Locality of mine site: Lutterade/Geleen

Beatrix (construction started 1958, abandoned 1962) production 0 ton.
Locality of mine site: vincinity of Herkenbosch/Vlodrop

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