With our mines rehabilitated the bats returned!

Years ago, ARBED definitively closed its iron mines in the Grand-Duchy. Forgotten for a long time, these undergrounds have been restored by the ArcelorMittal Real Estate service, in collaboration with the Nature and Forests Administration, to promote the re-development of their biodiversity.

This is the case of the Giele Botter’s mine in Niederkorn where, in 2019, grids replaced metal plates in order to facilitate access to the premises for animals.

Basically, this project consisted mainly of securing the mining openings, in particular to prevent people from entering and injuring themselves. These vents sag over time, but bats frequent them as hibernation sites. Basically, ArcelorMittal had already secured the holes concerned; the idea was to redevelop the securing devices to make them accessible to bats. The plate securing the hole with only two small openings for the passage of the bats did not allow the correct circulation of the air, nor that of the bats. We have replaced these plates with grids and are now seeing the return of bats.
Jan Herr, from the Nature and Forest Administration, is in charge of the Giele Botter area, classified Natura 2000

The Greater Horseshoe Bat in Niederkorn

Thanks to this installation, the year 2022 is off to a good start for the teams who worked on the rehabilitation of the Giele Botter site. The report listing the species present on the ground notes that five different species of bats now frequent the mine, in the space of only two years! In 2019, the Niederkorn facilities, but also those of Dudelange, had as a priority to accommodate species of bats that are fairly common in the Grand Duchy.

The repopulation observed is particularly interesting because we now note the presence of the Greater Horseshoe Bat, an extremely rare species in Luxembourg and protected at national and European level. It is a target species of Giele Botter, a Natura 2000 classified area.
This is not the first time that ArcelorMittal Luxembourg has welcomed protected species on its ground and underground. Animals often find refuge on our disused sites such as Rout Lens or Schifflange, where conversion projects are underway. ArcelorMittal works closely with the Nature and Forest Administration to guarantee them the best possible treatment.

The ANF has an agreement with ArcelorMittal for the management of its natural open land. You can do itinerant grazing or clearing for example. ArcelorMittal has 600 hectares of forests [JH1] in Luxembourg, of course there are many protected species. Of the 21 species of bats present on Luxembourg territory, which are protected at European and Luxembourg level, most use the former ArcelorMittal galleries as hibernation quarters. Other protected species are present at ArcelorMittal, we have the lulu lark (with only 25 pairs in Luxembourg) but also flowers such as with certain species of orchids.
Jan Herr

Before and after the mine entrance rehabilitation.