In the Jänschwalde opencast mine, regular brown coal mining operations have ended. Brandenburg's Prime Minister Dietmar Woidke (SPD) received one last piece of coal. It was an emotional moment for the miners because brown coal had been mined in Jänschwalde for almost 50 years.
Other opencast mines operated by the energy company Leags in Lusatia continue to operate. The coal phase-out is agreed for 2038. Leag is planning a conversion towards renewable energies.
“Now comes the last and equally important phase in the life of an opencast mine: the recultivation of the dumping areas, the securing of embankments, the creation of lakes and the increase in groundwater,” said Prime Minister Woidke, who grew up not far from the opencast mine. “The end of coal mining in the Jänschwalde opencast mine is not the end of the Lausitz industrial and energy region.” New settlements and new industrial jobs would be created.
“Our respect and respect goes to the women and men who have worked hard in the opencast mine in wind and weather so that we can reliably draw our electricity from the socket,” said Prime Minister Woidke before the ceremonial “shift change” on Friday.
Switch to solar power
With the departure from coal mining in Jänschwalde, northeast of Cottbus, the company is pushing ahead with the construction of a solar system on the former opencast mining areas. Leag's production director, Philipp Nellessen, said on RBB Inforadio that around 2,500 hectares had already been restored. “We will then build the first small section of this several hundred megawatt solar system on these first areas.”
However, work in the Jänschwalde opencast mine will not be completely stopped at the end of the year. According to Leag, geotechnical safety measures will still be necessary in the first few months of next year.
The Green Party parliamentary group leader in the state parliament, Benjamin Raschke, criticized the fact that despite the company's public promises that it would also carry out the recultivation, its financing was still open. The Greens proposed a public foundation for the consequences of brown coal mining. In the future, lakes will also be created on the brown coal areas.