Study tours to Germany – learning from German experience and know-how in mining waste management
Two study tours on mining waste management in Germany have been recently organized for employees of the Ministry of Mining and Energy of the Republic of Serbia. Those study tours are a part of the project Cadastre of mining waste in the Republic of Serbia, that is funded by the European union and co-funded by the Republic of Serbia. The project has been successfully implemented in Serbia since 2017.
The study tours to Germany were organized with the aim to provide information on the best practices in mining waste management and to foster exchange of information on best available technologies for mining waste management, on technical, organizational and administrative aspects.
Study tours were implemented during April and May 2019, according to the programmes proposed by the project implementing consortium of PLEJADES & DMT and approved by the Ministry of Mining and Energy, Final Beneficiary of this project. Each tour was attended by 5 employees from the mining and geology department of the Ministry.
Dragana Erdeljan Jelisavac (Head of the Mining Department, Ministry of Mining and Energy)
The visits organized in line with the project’s terms of reference by the project implementing consortium encompassed examples of the best mining waste management practices, as well as the visits to authorities in charge of mining and institutions and companies in charge of mining waste management.
The visits to authorities, institutions and companies of Thuringia, Saxony-Anhalt and Saxony states provided us with information about the way this waste is being managed, as well as with explanation related to implementation of the EU Directive 2006/21.
Field visits provided us with opportunity to find out more about the technology that is used for waste disposal and waste management at active mines of potassium, halite and lignite, as well as to find out about the way remediation and waste water treatment are being done.
Two tours – one to eastern Germany, one to western Germany
Focus of the first tour was on eastern Germany with mining areas in Hessia, Thuringia, Saxony-Anhalt and Saxony states. The second tour focused on the Ruhr and Sauerland mining areas in North Rhine, Westphalia state in western Germany.
During two visits to Germany, a country with long mining tradition, employees from the Ministry had opportunity to visit the following entities and locations (in selection):
- Mining companies with active mines (K+S KALI GmbH, MIBRAG Mitteldeutsche Braunkohlengesellschaft mbH),
- Inactive mines in decommissioning/remediation/aftercare and re-cultivation phase (RAG Aktiengesellschaft, WISMUT GmbH, LMBV Lausitzer und Mitteldeutsche Bergbau-Verwaltungsgesellschaft mbH, Section KSE),
- Mining authorities (Thuringia and Saxony states) and
- Government agencies funding and managing decommissioning/remediation/aftercare and recultivation and of state-owned mines (LAF State Agency for Exemption Saxony-Anhalt).
Mihailo Milošević (Ministry of Mining and Energy)
„I was attending the first study tour. Working as a lawyer in the Ministry of mining and energy, the most useful part of the tour was a visit to Thuringia and Saxony state institutions in charge of mining. We found out about the best practices of our German colleagues, who are in charge of issuing permits for mineral resources exploration and exploitation, but also for mining waste management. It was very useful to find out about the procedures they apply for the management of compensation taxes paid by the holders of permits.
A visit to K+S KALI GmbH Company was a truly valuable experience for us. It is an active mine of potassium and halite, and there we found out what are the obligations of permit holders / mining companies related to waste disposal and underground backfill.”
Valuable and vivid dialogue of Serbian and German experts
Mining waste management in all stages of mining were covered, from the design and permitting, active operations to decommissioning, recultivation and aftercare. Visits comprised various types of mines (underground and open cast) and commodities extracted (metals, uranium, potassium, salt, hard coal and lignite). Visits and meetings covered all relevant technical, administrative, project management and financial aspects.
Visits were accompanied by vivid discussions between Serbian and German experts and extensive question and answer sessions. Exchange of information was successfully fostered and achieved. MoME staff gained valuable insights into all aspects of mining waste management which may contribute to further improvement of mining waste management in Serbia.
Peter Bayer (Team Leader PLEJADES & DMT)
Two visits that our consortium PLEJADES & DMT successfully organized within the project “Cadastre of mining waste, Republic of Serbia” included active mining operations as well as decommissioned mines with a wide spectrum of raw materials extracted (metals, uranium, hard coal, lignite, rock salt and potassium) and mining waste.
There were vivid discussions throughout the meetings and site visits, with the Ministry representatives actively participating in the exchange of information. We take that as confirmation that the study tours were very successful.