The approval process for a potash plant in northern Thuringia has been initiated by the junior mining company Südharz Kali GmbH, Erfurt/Germany. A so-called scoping document for the subsequent spatial planning procedure has been submitted to the Thuringian State Administration Office (Thüringer Landesverwaltungsamt – TLVwA).
It outlines two different development paths with various options. On the one hand, the project could be implemented as a brownfield project in the Bernterode area, using the existing mining infrastructure. The alternative is a greenfield project with a new shaft access in the Haynrode area. In addition, an industrial area in Leinefelde is being considered as a site for crude brine processing, transport and logistics (Figure 1).
Luis da Silva, CEO of South Harz Potash, sees the start of the process as a milestone for the revival of mining in the South Harz region: “I congratulate the entire South Harz team for their excellent work in advancing us to submission of the Ohmgebirge Scoping Paper to the TLVwA. We are also excited to present a credible brownfield development option for Ohmgebirge, with all the accompanying capital cost and timetable benefits that this can deliver.”
Babette Winter, Managing Director of Südharz Kali and Regional Director of the parent company South Harz Potash Ltd. is also optimistic : “While we benefit from excellent local and regional support for critical potash mining activities, our commitment to best-in-class development and operating practice remains unwavering. This is reflected in our overarching approach to the spatial planning approval process and our interaction with all governmental and regulatory stakeholders as part of this.”
The scoping document is an important first step in the spatial planning process. Among other things, it will be used to inform the so-called public interest bodies, which will be consulted by the relevant state administration and can then submit comments. The company plans to submit the documents for the spatial planning procedure for one specific site in the fourth quarter of the calendar year 2023. The regulatory authority is obliged to decide within six months after submission of the full application. (Südharz Kali/Si.)