The deposits had previously been discovered by chance when workmen digging the Liège-Antwerp canal uncovered large volumes of white sand, which turned out to be outstandingly pure quartz. Its discovery was a blessing for the Kempen region, bringing economic prosperity to the towns of Mol, Dessel, Lommel and the wider area.
The Ministry of Public Works granted the first permit to mine sand to local entrepreneur Antoon Van Eetvelde in 1862. Within three years the operation was producing up to 30,000 tonnes of quartz sand per year for local crystal makers, cement manufacturers and glassworks.
Antoon Van Eetvelde had set the wheels in motion for what was to become a booming quartz sand industry. Several years later he joined forces with other industrialists from Liège and Antwerp to form Sablières et Carrières Réunies, the company today known as SCR Sibelco.
SCR was founded on the 4th
April 1872 with the articles of association approved and signed by the Secretary General, Baron Lambermont. The principal shareholder was the bank Crédit Général Liègeois and the first chairman was Ernest de Laminne.
SCR was up and running and was soon ready for expansion, both domestically and internationally. The story of Sibelco had begun.