New prospects for the Rhenish coalfield

  Nivelsteiner Sandwerke © Martin Braun

The Mine ReWir association wants to create new perspectives to counter the coal phase-out of the Rhenish mining area. Elisabeth Clausen, head of the Institute for Advanced Mining Technologies, explains that the region must remain a mineral resource district even after decarbonization.

The transformation of the Rhenish mining area must focus on a resource-conserving circular economy, Clausen says. Equally important, he said, is dealing with legacy issues: How can mineral resources used in wind turbines and solar panels be recovered and sustainable technologies developed for the responsible use of raw materials? 

Meike Jungbluth, Chairwoman of Mine ReWir and CEO of the Roskopf Group, calls for competencies from the mineral resource sector to be combined. The industrial service provider had been dependent on lignite and hard coal for decades and had hardly acted innovatively because there was little reason to do so in the age of fossil fuels. With the end of coal mining and due to advancing climate change, the promotion of networks between science and industry is becoming more important, Jungbluth says. To achieve this ambitious goal, companies need to develop visions, which is made more difficult by labor shortages and digitalization, Jungbluth explains.

This transition is all the more challenging for the companies concerned due to the early coal phase-out and extended power plant operating times, Clausen says. Most companies are not in a position to develop their own business models, which brings the need for new cooperations to the fore. This is the way to open up new projects, she says.

Mine ReWir wants to construct a structural analysis of the Rhenish coalfield to find out how much structural change is affecting companies and how willing companies are to transform, Clausen says. 

Source: Aachener Zeitung