(Chief Editor Mining Report Glückauf)
German mining technology enjoys a strong international reputation, a fact borne out by the interest that this supplier sector attracts at international conferences, exhibitions and trade fairs. This has a lot to do with the innovative capacity that German mine operators have been able to bring to bear in working hand in hand with equipment manufacturers. They in turn have relied to a large degree on the research activities of mining departments at local technical colleges and universities. This benefits both the deep mining sector and the opencast industry and applies not just to coal and potash but to ore mining too, a sector that has not had a publically recognised role in Germany for more than twenty years. One underlying reason for this innovative strength has been the economic challenges posed by having to improve process efficiency on an ongoing basis, which also includes occupational health and safety and environmental protection measures. This edition of Mining Report Glückauf contains examples of how innovativeness is still very much a factor to be recognised in the German mining industry.
The first direct transfer of a complete face installation in Zollverein seam has proved to be a real test for the engineering team at RAG’s Prosper-Haniel colliery. Greater face lengths, a higher support resistance and increased hydraulic pressures, along with other influencing factors, place high demands on the performance capability of the hydraulic supply system. The increase in working depth combined with the geomechanical challenges that are a feature of the German coal industry have resulted in new solutions being adopted for the transport and processing of injection resins. Collaboration between RWTH Aachen University and machinery manufacturers Wirtgen culminated in the introduction of an innovative mining machine for the New Acland opencast mine in Australia, while the Fraunhofer Institute in Stuttgart teamed up with the resources company K + S AG to develop a simulation-based decision making tool for the optimised deployment of plant and machinery in room-and-pillar workings. The section on ISSA Mining also presents a new approach to practical training in the field of mines rescue.
Our examination of potential overseas markets includes a report on the “Plan Nord” project for sustainable development that has been initiated by the Government of Quebec Province, which also includes actions to promote the local mining industry. Reports on the latest developments in the Chinese coal sector and on the mining industry of Kazakhstan also look at the opportunities arising for German mining equipment suppliers in these two resource-rich nations.
I will conclude with a reference to the report on the German Mining Network, which is now nearing the end of its setting-up phase. This organisation will in future provide a platform to promote international contacts and support the exchange of information in the mining and natural-resources sector.
With my best regards
Dipl.-Ing. Andreas-Peter Sitte
Chief Editor Mining Report Glückauf, Herne