Just transition in France

France has experienced strong mining activity for many decades, particularly in coal mining regions. The most famous of these are Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Lorraine and the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes regions. However, with the gradual depletion of deposits, international competition, falling demand and high costs associated with its exploitation, the coal mining industry has gradually declined.

Three former coal sites will be considered during the CoalHeritage project: the Nord-Pas-de-Calais coal basin, located in northern France (brown color on the map), the Lorraine coal basin located in northeastern France (blue color on the map), the Midi-Pyrénées coal basin located in southern France (purple color on the map) (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1 Map of the coalfields of France (black colour). Pierre-Christian Guillard, Les chevalements des houillères Françaises, 1993 (ISBN 2-9502503-6-X), p. 12 (illustration) ; C. Raymond, Synthèse géologique sur les ressources charbonnières de la Bourgogne, BRGM, 1982

The conversion of the coal mining industry in France began as early as the 1960s and terminated in 2004 with the closure of the last coal mine in Lorraine. The conversion included a multifaceted process, encompassing economic, social, and cultural dimensions. Faced with the magnitude of the shocks caused by the disappearance of coal activities as well as recurrent economic crises, the conversion process can be considered as a relative success.