A daring mission to transform a lost French mining town into a green oasis

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Loos-en-Gohelle sits in the far north-east pocket of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais département (equivalent to a county), close to the border with Belgium. Two huge slag heaps, one of them the largest in Europe, tower above it, the heritage of centuries of mining activity that ceased in the region in 1990, and which has seen little industrial relay.