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Former mining land restored to nature

In the 1980s and 1990s the mine shaft here used to take the miners of Ewald Fortsetzung colliery in Oer-Erkenschwick down to their place of work. By the time the new millennium came the shaft was no longer needed and as a result it is to be permanently filled in: Haard Shaft in Datteln-Ahsen will be transformed into the Haard nature conservation and recreation area. This work is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2015.

Shaft sinking began here in 1977 and colliery operations then commenced in 1982 with the shaft serving as a manwinding and materials transport facility. When Ewald-Fortsetzung colliery closed the shaft was transferred first to General Blumenthal mine in Recklinghausen and then finally to Auguste Victoria colliery in Marl. Haard shaft itself was decommissioned in 2001.

The shaft filling work is expected to commence in the summer of 2015. In order to protect the natural environment and minimise the inconvenience to ramblers and cyclists most of the sand was brought in during January and February, in line with the storage capacity at the colliery site. The remainder, amounting to about 30 % of the total requirement, will be transported to the shaft as the filling work progresses. Some two thousand truck journeys will be needed to complete the operation.

The concrete mix that will be used to fill the shaft is produced using pure natural sand. The shaft has already been sealed with a concrete plug between the 750 and 850 m levels. The rest of the 1,116 m deep shaft will be filled with some 37,000 m3 of material. The concrete mix is to be prepared on site using cement, water and 54,000 t of natural sand from the Haltern area. Natural sand has to be used because the Haard shaft is being filled in the drinking-water horizon zone of the Haltern Sands. The fill material will be scrutinised and regulated very closely.

When the filling work has been completed, probably during the autumn of 2015, the remaining shaft buildings will be dismantled and the area will then be restored to its natural state as part of the Haard woodland area. (RAG Aktiengesellschaft/Si)