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Brown coal mining- Land reclamation - Ecology

Open cast mines for brown coal – Land reclamation and restoration – Ecology

first came the diggers... ...then nature returns

The German energy supplier RWE Power AG produces 15% of the total electricity supply of the Federal Republic of Germany from brown coal which is being mined from Europe’s largest deposits situated in the Rhineland – between Cologne, Aachen and Mönchengladbach. Many of the coal beds are located under several hundred layers of sediments which originate from the Tertiary and the Ice Ages. Hence, the coal has to be mined in open cast mines which cause dramatic changes to the landscape.

Coal and colliery waste are excavated with bucket-wheel excavators from one side of the mines. Subsequently, the waste is transported to the other side of the open cast mines on a conveyor belt to fill the pits back up again. This results in the formation of a new barren landscape.
The land reclamation department of RWE Power AG is responsible for reclaiming and designing the new landscape. In addition, concomitant ecological research is conducted by the Forschungsstelle Rekultivierung. You can find a quick outline of ongoing and recently completed research of the Forschungsstelle Rekultivierung by following the link Aktuell, more detailed explanations are given in Aktivitäten.