Geophysical survey in progress on the DUFERCO Wallonia pilot site

Within the framework of the European project INTERREG NWE-REGENERATIS geophysical investigations are carried out on the DUFERCO Wallonia pilot site of La Louvière. The objective of this project is to determine the potential of former industrial sites to valorize the materials resulting from their metallurgical activity and present in their soil.

These geophysical surveys will be used to feed a tool based on artificial intelligence - the SMARTIX, which will make it possible to choose the most appropriate way of recovering the soils and materials found there.

The exploitation of the La Louvière site by DUFERCO began at the turn of the 2000s and ended in 2013. This industrial site was one of the largest in Wallonia. Today, DUFERCO Wallonia is in the process of dismantling its installations. At the time of its exploitation, which began in the 1850s and reached its peak in the 1960s, the site of La Louvière covered the whole metallurgical cycle, its soil is therefore rich in recoverable iron and steel residues. This is why it was chosen as a pilot site for the European NWE-REGENERATIS project.




The "La Louvière" site of DUFERCO Wallonia is rich in recoverable metallurgical residues.




Claudia NECULAU, coordinator of the NWE-REGENERATIS project at SPAQUE

For Claudia NECULAU, from the Walloon company SPAQυE, leading partner of the NWE-REGENERATIS project, the use of geophysical prospecting makes it possible to pinpoint zones with a higher concentration of metals (copper, manganese, zinc, iron, etc.) for their future recovery as well as to estimate the volumes of materials present on site.

Such non-invasive prospecting also has an economic advantage, as it allows to concentrate on a reduced number of zones and thus to limit prospective drilling, which is very costly.

The University of Liege, partner of the project, is in charge of the geophysical study which combines seismic and electrical methods.




Itzel ISUNZA MANRIQUE from the University of Liège at the seismic wave acquisition station.

The seismic method consists in determining the propagation velocities of seismic waves in the ground which are a function of its mechanical properties.

This multi-method approach allows to establish a 3D map of the physical properties of the ground and thus to identify the zones rich in recoverable metals.




Benoit MIGNON from CTP (right) alongside David CATERINA (middle) and Hadrien MICHEL (left), from the University of Liège.

After identification of areas with high metal concentrations, it is the Centre Terre et Pierre de Tournai (CTP) that takes over. This partner of the NWE-REGENERATIS project will take soil samples at specific locations. By separating and analyzing the materials present in these samples, the CTP will provide important information which, crossed with the results of the geophysical prospecting, will make it possible to determine the composition of the soil, the volumes of the materials present and the location of the materials of interest for valorization. 

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