Our roots lie in the coal mining industry. Accordingly, we bear responsibility for financing the perpetual obligations that the German hard coal mining industry has left behind, and we are generating the funds that are needed to fulfil these obligations. In addition, we promote projects in the areas of education, science and culture in order to support the transformation of the former mining regions.
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The RAG-Stiftung is taking on the huge responsibility of financing the perpetual obligations for an unlimited period of time. These measures include pit water management, polder measures and groundwater purification. All of them have one thing in common: the water that has to be regulated, partly underground and partly above ground, even after the discontinuation of mining activities.
Pit water management
RAG AG is responsible for pit water management in the former hard coal mining regions. At the bottom of a former mineshaft hundreds of metres under the surface, the pit water is collected and transported to the surface by powerful pumps and pipes, then channelled into watercourses. The pumping system is designed redundantly. In case of a malfunction, each pump can be quickly replaced by another. The new pit water concept of RAG for the post-mining era will in the medium term require only six central pit water drainage stations in the Ruhr region.
Centuries of mining operations have also changed the local landscape. Entire regions have subsided, in extreme cases by as much as 25 metres. The surface water at
these locations must be actively regulated now and in the future in order to prevent the accumulation of water in these hollows. Special pumping facilities must be operated and maintained and bodies of water must be deepened or barricaded with dykes to ensure that the water is drained off.
Ground water purification
In some of the former mining regions, especially on the grounds of former coking plants, there are contaminated areas that must be cleaned up. After the contaminated
groundwater has been located, it is drained off and purified in order to prevent contaminated water from mixing with clean water and spreading. The effectiveness of these measures is regularly monitored.
The duties that are firmly established in the RAG-Stiftung’s articles of association include not only financing the perpetual obligations but also supporting education, science and culture. Through its support activities, the RAG-Stiftung fulfils its responsibility toward the former mining regions in many different ways. It generates significant momentum and makes a crucial contribution to the future development of the Ruhr and Saar regions and Ibbenbüren.
The mine locations along the Ruhr and Saar regions and in Ibbenbüren also used to be significant training centres, especially in recent years. They enabled teenagers with limited opportunities to enter the trainee and job markets. The RAG-Stiftung has continued this positive tradition of the mining industry down to the present day by making education and training a focus of its funding activities. Today the emphasis is on the foundation’s own support projects in the former mining regions.
What will follow the hard coal mining operations? The RAG-Stiftung’s support programmes in the area of science are focusing on this question. For example, the Centre of Research for Post-mining Activities at Georg Agricola University of Applied Sciences, which was initiated by the RAG-Stiftung, conducts cutting-edge research in areas such as pit water management and groundwater purification.
The customs, traditions and music of the miners are essential components of an active culture of remembrance. These activities will carry the mining heritage into the future. As a result, in the funding area of culture the RAG-Stiftung pursues the goal of promoting the mining tradition, supporting cultural events related to mining and conserving selected structures that were used by the mining industry. In this way the RAG-Stiftung is making sure that future generations will also be able to hand down the mining tradition and the miners’ values.