Barbara – this will be the name of the tunnel boring machine (TBM) in future, which will drive the mine water channel from the outlet to the central shaft (Figure 1). The woman who gave the TBM its name is the patron saint of all miners. Saint Barbara’s Day is therefore exactly the right temporal setting for the christening of this huge machine.
During a solemn ceremony on 7th December 2022, the first tunnel boring machine for the construction of the mine water channel of the former Ibbenbüren mine of RAG Aktiengesellschaft, Essen/Germany, was symbolically baptised by Parish Priest Andreas Finke and Pastor Martin Weber at the outlet of the mine water channel. It is one of two TBMs that will drive the mine water canal over a length of 7.4 km, through which the mine water of the Ibbenbüren mine will in future be fed to the new mine water treatment plant currently under construction in Gravenhorst.
The godmother of the first TBM of the west drive is Christine Wenzel, an internationally successful sports shooter from Ibbenbüren. Miriam März, head of RAG’s Personnel and Development Division (V-PE), will be the godmother for the west section of the mine water tunnel, which will be named “Miriam”.
With this act of blessing and symbolic baptism of the TBM and the tunnel, God’s assistance and blessing is requested for the safety and health of the tunnel builders as well as for the success of the project, which is being implemented to protect the people and nature in the former coal region.
A second TBM will be lowered into the 75-m-deep central shaft in the spring of this year and will dig its way through the ground from there in an easterly direction. In 2025, after completion, all the mine water will flow through the canal into the Gravenhorst treatment plant. (RAG/Si.)