In a meeting on 30th March 2017, the Supervisory Board of Lausitz Energie Bergbau AG agreed on a concept for the Lusatia lignite mining district for the next 25 – 30 years (Figure 1). Following the sale of the lignite division by the previous owner, Vattenfall, to new owners EPH/PPF Investments, the concept lays the foundations for planning capability in the region and for many Lusatia inhabitants who rely on lignite to make a living or who live alongside lignite.
In the preceding few months, the technical, economical and legal aspects of different versions of the mining district concept were subjected to a thorough examination. “We are aware that with the Lusatia mining district concept we have made a far-reaching decision. It affects our company and its employees, as well as the federal states of Brandenburg and Saxony and many people in the Lusatia region. We weighed up this decision and all its consequences with due responsibility,” said Helmar Rendez, Chairman of the Executive Board of Lausitz Energie Bergbau AG and Lausitz Energie Kraftwerke AG (LEAG), Cottbus/Germany.
The mining district concept does not foresee the construction of new power stations at the Jänschwalde site or use of the future field Jänschwalde-Nord. “Given the political and economical framework conditions that have arisen in these federal states in the meantime, these investments are no longer justifiable from a business point of view,” explained Rendez. The company is allegedly planning to complete the Jänschwalde open-pit mine by 2023 as scheduled. The Jänschwalde power station is then due to be operated for a period of eight to ten years with coal from the south of the mining district, in order to provide a longer planning horizon for structural and site development. LEAG is also planning to continue providing training at the Jänsch-walde site.
Next to mining area 1, the Mühlrose special field in Nochten with a coal reserve of around 150 mt is due to be mined as part of mining area 2 in order to secure a needs-based supply for the Boxberg power station in the long term. Mining the Mühlrose special field requires the relocation of some 200 inhabitants in the Trebendorf district, with whom the company will be a holding discussion shortly.
LEAG still recognises the energy-related need to mine coal in sector II in Welzow-Süd. However, unlike the Nochten open-pit mine, an investment decision regarding sector II of the Welzow-Süd open-pit mine is not absolutely essential at present, according to the management of the open-pit mine. It must be made by 2020 at the latest. The company is of the opinion that better use would be made of that time by finding out how the nuclear phase-out affects the supply situation and the price of electricity, and how the future Federal Government’s energy policy decisions will affect the generation of electricity from lignite.
In its new Lusatia mining district concept, LEAG also stated that it has no plans to develop the Bagenz-Ost and Spremberg-Ost open-pit mines. Mining of the open-pit Reichwalde site will go ahead in accordance with the approved plans.
The Lusatia mining district concept does not directly impact the number of employees at LEAG. The suspension of operations-based compulsory redundancies until the end of 2020 declared by the owner last year and the associated tariff agreements still stand. (LEAG, Si.)