25 November, 2013

The Ardoisières d'Angers closure, a new trauma for the region

A chapter of the economic history of Angers, and probably, of plain history, is closing. One of its most symbolic companies, the Ardoisières d'Angers, is about to close. The mining site, which gave job to thousands and thousands of persons for a thousand years, will close for ever, leaving 160 employees out ot of job. The company, which lost € 12 millions during the last four years and was unsuccessful to discover new slate deposits, had no other choice, said its management. Worrying signals had been visible last summer and predicted the current epilogue. The Angers slate site was maybe the ultimate mining site still alive in France.

The reactions of political represen-tatives reflect that these are aware of the difficulties the emplo-yees will face  soon. But, above all, they look to be conscious about the emotional burden the Angers region will have to support and to overcome. "This is a very important period in the Trélazé men's and women's history but also in the history of all the agglomeration, because the Ardoisières is a specific part of our human and industrial inheritance. This is tragic", said Frédéric Béatse, Angers mayor. His challenger in the municipal elections, Christophe Béchu, spoke of "a considerable fright. These moments are very tough to live. This is a depressing news". For Jean-Claude Antonini, Angers Loire Métropole chairman, "The history of our territory is intimately linked to the slate activity. It shaped our landscapes as well as our minds. This is a day of great sadness for the Angers agglomeration". 

All the public decision-makers pointed out they will be watchful about the duties of the Imerys group, owner of the Ardoisières d'Angers, which will have to be fulfilled. But, beyond the help to employees and Trélazé city where the Ardoisières were located, the ways and resources of an industrial conversion are not clear. And this is probably the most worrying for the future. [Credit pictures : Conseil général, Angers Loire Tourisme, Ardoisières d'Angers]

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