RAG Aktiengesellschaft, Essen/Germany, is putting its spoil tips in new hands: The Ruhr Regional Association (Regionalverband Ruhr, RVR) is taking over 20 redeveloped mining sites with a total surface area of 1,149 ha (Figure 1). These are primarily intended to be developed into natural sites and activity areas.
“The mountains of the Ruhr metropolitan area are more than viewpoints. As landmarks, they are points of reference in the urban landscape and represent a unique feature of this region with their ever-changing backdrop. The acquisition of further spoil tips offers us, as the largest spoil tip owner in the Ruhr region, the opportunity to significantly help shape the geographical development of our region,” explains RVR Regional Director Karola Geiß-Netthöfel. RAG is keeping its promise to make post-mining sustainable for the people in the mining regions, according to Peter Schrimpf, Chairman of the Executive Board of RAG: “Not only can our areas help with creating new jobs; they can also make the district more attractive. Needless to say, this also includes our spoil tips. However, we are unable to guarantee public use permanently. The RVR is clearly better suited to this.”
“We want to incorporate the spoil tips into the green infrastructure of the Ruhr metropolitan area and open them up to the people of the Ruhr region as well as tourists. They are not just decorative structures but rather important components in the creation of a climate-friendly region,” adds RVR representative Nina Frense. Some of the newly acquired spoil tips are already accessible to the public and are being used for leisure and tourism purposes, for local recreation or for energy production – in 2021, this already applies to nine spoil tips with a surface area of 380 ha. These are the spoil tips of Lohberg North (Dinslaken), Scholver Feld (Gelsenkirchen), Rungenberg (Gelsenkirchen), Mottbruch (Gladbeck), Graf Moltke 2 (Gladbeck), Elsa-Brändström-Straße (Lünen/Dortmund), Blumenthal 8 (Oer-Erkenschwick), Humbert (Hamm) and Groppenbruch (Dortmund).
Other spoil tips are still under mining authority supervision and will gradually be made accessible to people in the Ruhr region. The stages of the closure plan will be successively completed by RAG subsidiary RAG Montan Immobilien GmbH by 2035. Over the course of the next 15 years, the spoil tips Haniel (Bottrop), Canal Belt – Haus Aden (Bergkamen), Brinkfortsheide (Marl), Lohberg North extension (Hünxe), Sundern (Hamm), Radbod (Hamm), Scholven (Gelsenkirchen), Kohlenhuck (Moers), Graf Moltke 1 (Gladbeck), Wehofen East (Dinslaken/Duisburg) and Rossenray (Kamp-Lintfort) will be gradually handed over to the RVR.
“By handing the spoil tips over to the RVR, RAG will save on maintenance costs. In this way, we will be able to contribute some of these savings to the RVR’s maintenance costs for a period of 20 years. We are therefore playing an important part in the transformation of the Ruhr region and in the future public use of spoil tips,” states Michael Kalthoff, CFO at RAG.
The operating costs for the upkeep of the landscape and trail system amount to around 1.4 M € per year for the 20 spoil tips. RAG will contribute half of the maintenance expenses. The RVR has already commissioned external planning offices to look into if and how the reclaimed mining sites can be used for tourism, leisure and recreation. The result of the utilisation concept is that nine spoil tips with a total surface area of 742 ha are suitable for developing tourist facilities because of their site qualities.
The nine spoil tips that are of special interest for tourism purposes include Kohlenhuck, Lohberg North, Haniel, Mott-bruch, Scholven, Rungenberg, Brinkforts-heide, Haus Aden 2 and Humbert. Haus Aden 2, Lohberg North, Mottbruch and Brinkfortsheide are also being considered as potential sites for the International Garden Festival (IGA Ruhr metropolitan area 2027). The other eleven spoil tips will add to the green leisure and recreation infrastructure of the Ruhr metropolitan area and enhance it from an ecological point of view. Energy production systems have already been installed at six spoil tips, while other spoil tips are being considered as potential sites for wind turbines or solar plants.
Consultants involved in the utilisation concept estimated the investment costs for qualifying the spoil tips to amount to around 50.4 M €. The RVR will attempt to secure funding for this.
The RVR is the owner of 37 spoil tips to date. Many of them have already been specifically developed so that they remain visible landmarks. Works of art have turned them into symbols of the new Ruhr region. At the same time, they have been transformed into attractive areas for tourism, recreation, leisure and sport. (RAG/Si.)