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Since our business is all about valorizing a natural resource taken from the ground, Lhoist firmly believes that we must give back more. Owning deposits for long periods before we begin operations means we can study the site and ensure that when we leave, several decades later, we not only restore the natural site, but actually enhance it. We have consulted with experts in this area and have created strategies with regards to the management of our quarries.
Creating a natural reserve
Lhoist’s excavation of limestone stopped after more than a century of activity. In cooperation with the city council of Amay (Belgium), the Department of Nature and Forests Administration and the Walloon Region, we launched an initiative to create an official natural reserve spanning 28 ha. The former quarry will encourage the colonization of protected species in a natural open habitat that includes a stretch of water and the earlier cliffs. Only part of the grounds will be open to the public. A more protected area will be open to the public via a guided tour. All parties have signed a charter to continue their cooperation for at least a 30-year period.
Protecting midwife toads
A number of excavation sites – including the small Dachskuhle quarry (Germany) – are not operated continuously. During the time periods when they are not in use, conditions at the surface of the Dachskuhle mine are excellent for settling midwife toads. Results to date show that the genus is successfully reproducing and the amphibians are resistant and healthy. The limestone blocks of the site and large ponds of permanent water provide important secondary habitats for endangered and strictly protected species in this densely populated area.
The Owl Project: supporting a species
The Owl Project monitors the presence of eagle owls, increasing in numbers, which have returned to an area that comprises both active and closed quarries. The mines represent important secondary habitats in a densely-populated area for this endangered and closely protected species. An expert ornithologist studies owl habitats in the excavation sites, population development and breeding, as well as new generations and hunting practices. The project also seeks to improve habitat conditions for the owls. The project is being carried out as a collaboration between the lime industry and local authorities; all parties have signed a public law contract.
Orchids in a quarry
In operation since the 19th Century, operations at the Voska quarry have resulted in the creation of different wall shapes. During a break in mining operations, several species of orchids started to grow and reproduce as a result of the excellent habitat conditions this produced. The result was an important population of this strictly protected species. Lhoist negotiated for an expansion of the site and spared the excavation of limestone that would affect orchid growth.