Collapse in gypsum quarry in Seine-Saint-Denis, work suspended

On the night of February 10-11, the gypsum quarry located in the forest of Bernouille in Seine-Saint-Denis collapsed. There are no injured persons.

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No one was injured in the collapse, but the incident was serious enough that the prefect of Seine-Saint-Denis issued an order to secure the site and stop the exploitation of the gypsum mine, the rock that allows the production of plaster.

This collapse occurred on the night of Saturday February 10 to Sunday February 11 at this quarry, which employs “16 employees” according to the operator's website, Placoplatra. It supplies a nearby factory located in Vaujours, in the same department.

“This is a rare event that cannot be taken lightly,” says Francis Redon, president of the Environnement 93 association.

According to the information published by the company, the drawing is carried out “according to the method of rooms and columns: a network of galleries with a width of 8 m (rooms) intersect vertically, leaving between them square columns with a side width of 7 m. The maximum height of the galleries can reach 17 m” (photos are published on their website).

“Placoplatre has been managing it for a long time. But at the end of its life, within 3 or 4 years, it will be finished,” points out Francis Redon.

On the other hand, the Vaujours factory seems to have a bright future. According to Les Échos, it is “the largest gypsum production unit in Europe. It uses 900,000 tons of gypsum every year to produce 65 million square meters of plasterboard, as well as coatings and mortars. It employs 400 people and creates around 3,000 indirect jobs.

“The exploitation of gypsum is considered a strategic resource by the state. Île-de-France has significant resources, in Seine-Saint-Denis, especially in the Bondy forest,” explains Francis Redon of Environment 93.

If he finds nothing to object to underground mining, he is disturbed by the desire of the company, a subsidiary of Saint-Gobain, to start an open-air project, which is considered a much bigger polluter.

When contacted, the company did not respond to our questions at the time of publication of this article.

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