Preconference Excursion

Field Trip

Open-pit lignite mining in Lusatia

Pit Klettwitz-NordThis full-day field trip on the Sunday before the conference provides insight into different water issues related to large-scale open pit lignite mining in Lusatia. The mines account for about one third of the German lignite production, with about 8000 MW of electrical power directly depending on it. In 2009, about 230 million m³ of groundwater had to be pumped for dewatering the pits.

By bus, we will start from the conference hotel in the morning. The first stop will be at an observation point overlooking the Welzow Süd operating mine with a production of up to 20 million tons a year. After visiting the pit, the dewatering expert of Vattenfall Europe Mining AG will provide us with detailed insight into the water management of the mining operations.

Belt F60We will climb up to 74 m high on one of the largest moving machines in the world, the conveyor belt F60. Besides the stunning view on the surrounding landscape (shaped by more than 150 years of  lignite mining), we will see overwhelmingly large machinery and learn about the mining processes. After the climb, we’ll have a light lunch (traditional potato soup with sausages).

SpreewaldThe last stop on the trip will be in the Spreewald biosphere reserve – a unique ecosystem that highly depends on the inflow from pit dewatering. Due to this dependency, the Spreewald needs special attention whenever the hydrologic conditions in the mining district are changed, e.g., by mine closure and pit reclamation. We will go on a couple of traditional punt boats that will be poled through the channels. Coming back, we will have dinner and a drink or two at a local restaurant and microbrewery.

After dinner, we will be driven back to the conference hotel.

As we do not have a lot of influence on the weather, we recommend to wear outdoor clothing and shoes that are suitable for rougher territory. For the tour of the conveyor belt F60, you should not mind being on catwalks at higher altitudes (you may skip the tour, of course). 

Impressions of the Excursion