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The German Coal Association (GVSt) is mourning the loss of Dr.-Ing. E.h. Wilhelm Beermann

The German Coal Association (GVSt) is mourning the loss of Dr.-Ing. E.h. Wilhelm Beermann, its Honorary President and Deputy Chairman, who died on 5th August at the age of 84.

Wilhelm Beermann spent his entire professional life in the service of the coal and lignite mining industries and their employees. Throughout this time he always spoke up for those toiling at heavy manual tasks and was tireless in defending their interests when management decisions were being made.

Wilhelm Beermann was born into a mining family in Gelsenkirchen in 1936. In 1951 he started training in industrial sales at Holland colliery, which was owned by Rheinelbe Bergbau AG. He soon became involved in the IG Bergbau mining union and in the Christian-Democratic Employees Association. In 1969 he was appointed Head of Social Affairs at Bergbau AG Westfalen. Then in 1984 he joined the management board of Bergbau AG Niederrhein as Labour Relations Director.

After an intervening period of four years spent on the board of lignite producers Rheinische Braunkohlenwerke AG he returned to the hard coal industry in 1990 as Employee Relations Director at the RAG Aktiengesellschaft and in 1997 he also took on the role of RAG Deputy Chairman. The following year he was appointed the first Chairman of the Board of the newly formed Deutsche Steinkohle AG.

From 2001 to 2019 Wilhelm Beermann resumed his relationship with the lignite industry when he became Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Central German Lignite Mining Company MIBRAG.

Wilhelm Beermann was guide and mentor to the GVSt for many years and in 1997 he joined the GVSt Management Board as Deputy Chairman. His activities in this area extended beyond national boundaries and during his time as President of the European umbrella organisation CECSO (the European Solid Fuels Association) a number of major decisions were taken on the follow-up regulations to be adopted after the expiry of the European Coal and Steel Community Treaty.

On the occasion of his 70th birthday in 2006 the Management Board of the GVSt appointed Wilhelm Beermann Honorary President of the German Coal Association as a token of its gratitude for his singular commitment to the coal industry and to its employees.

A long list of honours and awards mark the significance of his life’s work. TH Georg Agricola University in Bochum made him an Honorary Senator and RWTH Aachen University awarded him an honorary doctorate. Wilhelm Beermann’s voluntary work both inside and outside the coal industry was recognised at national level with the conferment of the Cross of Merit 1st Class of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.

With the passing of Wilhelm Beermann the Association has lost an outstanding figure and a counsellor of discernment and good judgement. We will forever hold his memory in the highest esteem.

Michael Kalthoff
German Coal Association (GVSt)

Michael Weberink
German Coal Association (GVSt)