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BACKGROUND

As a farmer in 1963, the company’s founder, Marcel Berthe found that his land in the Herbeton countryside was especially difficult to plow and hard enough to even break his farming tools. Following a professional analysis of the farmland, he learned that the type of stone found underneath his soil was widely used in various industrial applications.
Limestone is, in fact, quite a familiar substance. However, many people are unaware of its vital importance in daily life its essential role in our economy.

With a calcium carbonate content over 98%, limestone has a multitude of uses: as a fluxing agent in the production of steel and the treatment of nonferrous metals; in bricks, mortar and concrete used for construction; as a raw material for glass; in the construction of roads and dams; in the manufacture of paper, paints and pigments, carpeting and other floor coverings; in the treatment of soil, water, fumes, industrial waste and domestic waste. It is also used in agriculture to reduce soil acidity, to absorb water, to add calcium to produce, as well as in the extraction of sugar.

Following this report, Mr. Berthe installed the equipment necessary to the extraction and crushing of the rock. The resulting products were initially destined for public works and for contractors only.

A few years later, after having refined his production process, he turned to the sugar refineries and the iron and steel industry, which still remain the principal users of the stone produced in Florennes.

Over the past several years, the Berthe quarries, under the direction of the founder’s descendants, has sought to diversify its activity by offering high quality products and more refined finished products, highly useful in various areas such as the environment, agriculture, pharmaceutical products, paper mills, etc....
In plowing his land in the Herbeton countryside, Marcel Berthe, farmer, would often get his plough shears stuck on the stones strewn throughout his fields.

One day, he decided to have one of these stones analyzed, and it turned out that his farm was located on a marble deposit.

Marcel Berthe decided to launch a new business mining a marble quarry, and obtained a permit to exploit on March 22, 1962.

With the help of his wife and a handful of workers, he set out in search of the crushing equipment necessary to treat the cleaving surplus, and began the extraction of the marble.

By 1964, his new business was well established, and Marcel Berthe’s private operation became the “Herbeton Quarry".

There remain some magnificent souvenirs of these early marble mining days such as the tiling in the conference room, in the quarry’s buildings and the altar of Saint Gangulphe’s cathedral in Florennes. With the arrival of Italian marbles on the market and the many risks which this type of operation entailed, Marcel Berthe decided early on to find other outlets for his stone.

Local steel makers manifested great interest in Berthe’s stone because they were of a very high quality. However, the production capacity and equipment at the time were quite limited.

At that point, Marcel Berthe undertook the construction of a new crushing chain, operational since 1971 and which can be seen operating at the site along Corenne Road in Florennes even to this day.

In the Seventies, a number of sugar refineries were drawn to the Quarries, as our deposit contains a very high percentage of calcium carbonate, essential ingredient of the lime wash used to purify beet pulp.

We currently supply all the sugar refineries in Belgium, Holland and the northern France.

Shortly afterwards, we discovered the steelworks and glassworks markets. Our current production is approximately 500.000 tons per year.
Rock and stone of all different gages…


After mining, the pieces of rock- roughly one cubic meter in size- are removed by dump truck and poured into the hopper of the rock crusher…

The stones then crushed until they are reduced to 0/300 gage, and thus they can constitute the feed for the stockpile.

They are fed into a tunnel under the stockpile and pass through various jigger screens. We thereby obtain the three gages used in sugar refineries: 90/150, 90/130 and 60/90.

Stones of lower gage are reprocessed by crushing into limestone, i.e., a stone with a gage from 0 to 3 mm and used mainly in steel works.

Out of our concern for the environment and to preserve a good relations with local residents, all of the company’s new equipment is located in the bottom of the quarry, as to reduce the levels of noise and dust.