Already a few weeks have passed since I visited the Tagebau Welzow-Süd – Lusatia’s biggest opencast mine – together with a few other photographers from Cottbus. In the following I want to give you a tiny glimpse inside the work of thousands of people in my home region. If you are really interested in all the processes behind the lignite mining process in Lusatia we could have an endless chat or you could try to inform yourself in the internet. Since the topic of lignite mining nowadays is very controversally discussed it becomes more and more difficult to find an objective view and you easily find yourself stuck between extremely biased opinions on each end of the spectrum and almost nothing in-between.
But here is not the place to continue this discussion since the focus still is on the photographs I took that day.
In the following I want to show you some of the biggest machines in the world including the F60, also called the „Lying Eiffel Tower of Lusatia“ since it’s length of more than 500 meters easily wins the size comparison to the famous tower in Paris. But first let’s take a look at the SRs6300 which is the largest bucket wheel excavator in Lusatia. Here the overburden above the lignite is excavated and brought to the other side of the opencast mine via conveyor belts.
After our group of photographers was awe-struck by the size of this machine we travelled further into the lignite mine to take a look at were the overburden is transported to.
We were transported by the big truck called MTW to the side were all the overburden is burried again. The size of these mountains can only be grasped when compared to the tiny people standing in front of them. It is always interesting to see what structures can be found in the sand. Altough it doesn’t look like it a few years in the future there won’t be any desert-like area left – recultivation processes will have turned the area to what it was before – land for agriculture, forestry and protected habitats for endangered species.
Our last stop was the aforementioned F60 – a conveyor bridge whose technology is unique to the Lusatian opencast mines. The overburden is directly transported to the other side of the coal layer without the need to send it over to the other side via kilometer-long conveyor belts.
A big Thank You goes to Torsten Arnold and the colleagues from Vattenfall who made it possible to visit the opencast mine and take these photographs. If you yourself want to take a look at one of the F60s in Lusatia be sure to check out the F60 Lichterfeld which became a technical museum for tourists after it was not needed anymore (or ever).