On 23rd January 2019, the Hard Coal -Association (GVSt), Essen/Germany, hosted “200 years of industrial coal mining in Germany”. Jürgen-Johann Rupp, President of the GVSt and Member of the Board at RAG Aktiengesellschaft, welcomed around 150 attendees to the Casino restaurant on the Zollverein former mining complex (Figure 1).
In his opening speech, President of the German Industrial Union for Mining, Chemicals and Energy (IG BCE), Michael Vassiliadis, made reference to the guiding principles for implementing the structural changes in the former mining areas. He explained that climate and energy policy were not the same thing and that the regional governments of North Rhine-Westphalia and the Saarland and the federal government therefore needed an “energy policy compass” to help them make the right decisions.
Professor Bert Rürup, Head of the Handelsblatt Research Institute (HRI), presented the Coal Factbook put together by his institute on behalf of RAG and GVSt. He underlined the importance of the coal mining industry as the driving force behind industrialisation. He also warned that the wrong political conclusions must not be drawn from the withdrawal from the coal mining industry. The Ruhr region must draw on its existing strengths, namely health economics, logistics and environmental economics. A round table chaired by Professor Stefan Berger from the Ruhr University in Bochum (RUB), with Bärbel Bergerhoff-Wodopia, Member of the Board of Executives of the RAG-Stiftung, Karola Geiß-Netthöfel, Regional Director of the Regionalverband Ruhr (RVR) and Professor Jörg Bogumil, Chair of Public Administration, Urban and Regional Policy at the RUB, discussed possible ways of implementing this.
At the end of 2018, both RAG and GVSt were able to look back on a 50-year history. Managing Director of the association, Michael Weberink made special mention of this. GVSt Honorary President Wilhelm Beermann’s recollections of key events surrounding coal policy from this period were a particular highlight (Figure 2). (Si.)