(Chief Editor Mining Report Glückauf)
As 2017 draws to a close I would like to put the spotlight on themes that rarely, if ever, feature in Mining Report Glückauf. One concerns the use of coal as a feedstock, instead of as a fuel for electricity production and steel making, and the other involves an assessment of the international coal market.
There are many in Germany who think that coal is “only” good for making steel and of course generating elec-tricity and that in doing so it is damaging the climate and so should no longer have a future in the country. But they are overlooking the fact that this resource has other potential uses. Coal also can play a role in in the chemicals industry. The humic substances lignite e. g. contains can help improve barren soils. Coal also can be used in the manufacture of synthetic gases and fuels. In the latter case, the processes involved were developed in Germany nearly 100 years ago, though have more recently been put to use mainly in South Africa and China. Recent model calculations confirm that by employing the latest technology, and under certain criteria, synthetic-fuel plants of this type can operate profitably.
As is well known, Germany will cease to be a coal mining country at the end of 2018 and will thereafter be completely dependent on imported supplies of this resource. This is certainly one of the reasons why it will have to focus more than ever on the world coal markets and the energy and climate policy framework. Moreover, RAG Aktiengesellschaft, which is responsible for all coal mining in Germany, will have to adjust to, and make structural preparations for, the post-mining era, for the long-term actions needed to deal with the legacy of the mining industry do not end when the last colliery closes. And the cessation of coal mining in Germany will of course also have an impact on companies in the mining supplier sector. The Network Mining of EnergyAgency.NRW is helping these enterprises to address the problems involved. The focus of attention here will not just be on the well-established “big players” of the mining world but will also include other mining nations like Turkey.
This issue will also give more space than usual to our traditional ISSA Mining section. The 21st World Congress on Safety and Health at Work was held in Singapore in early September. The “Vision Zero” prevention programme, a concept originally developed by the Mining Section of the ISSA, was a major theme at the Congress. Also in September, Russia hosted the International Mines Rescue Body Conference (IMRB), which takes place every two years. This year’s event, which was based around three different locations – Moscow, St Petersburg and Novokuznetsk – featured scientific presentations and practical demonstrations that focused on all aspects of mines rescue work.
With my best regards
Dipl.-Ing. Andreas-Peter Sitte
Chief Editor Mining Report Glückauf, Essen