The RAG-Stiftung finances what are termed perpetual obligations – obligations that have remained since the end of German hard coal mining. They relate mainly to pit water management, polder measures and ground water purification in the former hard coal mining regions along the Ruhr and Saar rivers as well as in Ibbenbüren. The RAG-Stiftung thereby reduces the burden on the public sector and makes an indispensable contribution to the ecological and economic transformation around the former mine sites. It also provides an important boost by promoting education, science and culture.
Post-mining requirements are of an unlimited duration. The RAG-Stiftung provides the funds needed for them and constantly increases them. Whether for financing pit water management, polder measures or ground water purification at some former coking plants – sustainability is at the heart of the foundation’s purpose when it comes to regulating the precious resource of water above and below ground.
Pit water management
In the former mine workings, many hundreds of meters below ground, the water level continuously rises due to the influx and seepage of rainwater and surface water. To prevent the pit water, which contains salts and iron, from coming into contact with drinking water, it is collected at central points and pumped away. RAG Aktiengesellschaft performs this task on behalf of the RAG-Stiftung. Continuous optimisation and further refining of the pit water concept ensures that this process is as energy-efficient, climate-friendly and cost-conscious as possible.
200 years of industrial hard coal mining history have changed the topography of the land. Entire areas have subsided, in extreme cases by as much as 25 metres. In order to protect such depressions against flooding, the way in which the surface water is drained off must be permanently regulated at the locations in question. This is ensured by pumping stations, by deepening water bodies, or through dyke measures: from planning, through implementation and ongoing operation, to constant maintenance.
Comprehensive remediation of the areas around some former coking plants is required to prevent pollutants from seeping into the drinking water. That includes reliably identifying potential and actual risks, eliminating them through appropriate measures and regularly reviewing their effectiveness. Where contamination occurs, the water flows in question are intercepted and purified.