(Chief Editor Mining Report Glückauf)
Germany can look back on a long mining tradition and the economic development of the country is very much tied in with the mining industry. Mining was the motor that drove reconstruction after the Second World War and it has remained an important foundation upon which our current prosperity is based. Germany has been extracting natural resources over many generations, including coal, lignite, potash, rock salt, metal ores and quarry materials, not to mention oil and gas.
But the grim reality is that mining always has an impact on the natural environment and this can bring long-term changes to habitats and living spaces and in some cases leave behind an unwelcome legacy that will still prove harmful and damaging for years to come. German law stipulates that the mining companies must take responsibility for these legacies of the past. And it is precisely because they are prepared to shoulder these responsibilities that the companies in question have been able to develop expertise for resolving post-mining issues that is still unmatched at international level. It is no coincidence that the only research centre in the world that is dedicated to the post-mining theme is located at the Technical University of Applied Sciences Georg Agricola (THGA) in Bochum.
While issue 6/2015 of Mining Report Glückauf dealt with the post-mining theme of water management in various branches of the mining industry, this current edition will focus more on the impact the mining industry has had at the surface.
The Mines Inspectorate of North Rhine-Westphalia will be giving its assessment of the hazards and problems posed by disused mines and will be presenting a requirements profile for the development of an appropriate risk management strategy. Risk prevention and the restoration and re-development of former mining sites are some of the issues discussed in a paper submitted by the THGA. Practical examples drawn from the coal and lignite mining industries in Germany will expand further on the post-mining theme. The level of international demand for German know-how is borne out by papers describing post-mining measures at the Mostar coal mining complex in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the site restoration programme for the Erdenet mining region in Mongolia.
The previous edition of Mining Report Glückauf included our traditional review of developments in the German coal market over the course of the last calendar year and to balance this picture we end with a similar report on the German lignite industry in 2015.
And finally, in connection with the ISSA Mining theme I would like to draw your attention to the ‘First VISION ZERO Europe Conference’ (VIZE Europe) that is to be held in Bochum in early September at the invitation of a European network of occupational health and safety experts who will be presenting their innovative prevention concepts for the VISION ZERO strategy.
With my best regards
Dipl.-Ing. Andreas-Peter Sitte
Chief Editor Mining Report Glückauf, Herne