A territory shared among mining companiesadmin
From 1720 to 1944, the Nord-Pas de Calais seam was mined by private companies which had each been allocated a portion of territory by the state. The first concession was allocated in 1717 in Fresnes-sur-Escaut (near Valenciennes) by royal order. By the time of the outbreak of World War II, 18 companies were operating. Generally speaking, concessions were given the same name as the company, then again, companies could operate several concessions (it was the case for the great Compagnie d’Anzin). Companies could also own concessions with different names (the Compagnie de Béthune operated the Grenay concession). In 1944, the companies were nationalised. Led by Charbonnages de France, the Houillères du Bassin du Nord et du Pas-de-Calais (HBNPC) formed 9 mining groups (Valenciennes, Douai, Hénin-Liétard, Oignies, Liévin, Lens, Béthune, Bruay and Auchel) each comprising several concessions. These banded together as operations declined.