Mining has undeniably an adverse impact on the environment and this is why in Germany the mining industry has such a poor image in many social and political circles. Yet it is an important contributor to the nation’s economic performance, while the high standards that have been achieved in the redevelopment of its legacy landscapes are acclaimed around the globe. It is no coincidence that the world’s only research centre for post-mining activities is to be found at the TH Georg Agricola University in Bochum. The German mining industry continues to produce special technical solutions. This issue of Mining Report Glückauf presents several examples of innovative developments from the German mining sector.
This leads off with our ISSA Mining section, where the transition from large mining facilities to smaller-scale operations has led to structural changes to the mines rescue services. Against this background TU Bergakademie Freiberg has collaborated with the local hospital to develop a new concept for rescuing injured miners.
Our Post-Mining section addresses the subject of rising mine water levels at former collieries operated by the RAG Aktiengesellschaft. This requires an extensive monitoring regime that can secure information on the physical and chemical parameters of mine water.
The technical papers begin with a critical evaluation of the environmental impact of Germany’s active mining operations and how this fits into the overall picture of other public and non-public activities. This is followed by a review of recent experiences and of the perspectives for future developments in mechanised and conventional shaft sinking. The renovation work carried out on the head frame of the Reiche Zeche shaft at the research and training mine at TU Bergakademie Freiberg is a reflection of true engineering skill in action. RWTH Aachen University is engaged in several research initiatives, including the ELMAR project that focuses on the integration and demonstration of electric and autonomous transport vehicles in the mineral mining sector. The Weir Motion Metrics company is now producing state-of-the-art, AI-supported 3D technologies aimed at improving safety and energy efficiency in the mining industry. And a particular highpoint for the magazine’s editors involves a new cable-laying project that will see some of the underground workings of the Südwestdeutsche Salzwerke salt mine near Heilbronn being used to accommodate a section of the SuedLink high-voltage power line that will carry wind-generated electricity from northern Germany to the south of the country.
This latest edition closes by taking a look beyond the borders of Germany at the closure plans being developed around the water-energy nexus in the South African gold mining sector that pick up the theme of underground pumped storage power stations and at the current situation surrounding lithium production in Chile.
With my best regards
Dipl.-Ing. Andreas-Peter Sitte
Chief Editor Mining Report Glückauf, Essen