The supervisory board and the board of Executive Directors of K+S Aktiengesellschaft, Kassel, have decided to terminate potash production at the Sigmundshall site (Wunstorf-Bokeloh, Hanover Region) at the end of 2018. According to the company, this is due to the fact that reserves that can be commercially mined are coming to an end. Mining conditions for extracting the raw materials at a depth of more than 1400 m are reaching human and technological limits. In talks with workforce representatives and the trade union, new prospects and solutions are being discussed for the approximately 730 employees of the site.
“The decision to close the plant is not an easy one for us when we consider the workforce, which has done everything to make its site successful,” said Dr. Burkhard Lohr, Chairman of the K+S Board of Executive Directors. “But all those involved have known for a long time that the crude salt reserves of the Bokeloh salt deposit are dwindling. Mining conditions are becoming more and more demanding.”
It is also true that over the past three years increased mining expenses have resulted in a steady decline in the site’s productivity.
“Despite the great commitment of the employees, the Sigmundshall plant can no longer be profitably operated,” said Dr. Lohr.
The aim now is to be able to indicate clear prospects for the plant’s approximately 730 employees beyond 2018. This includes talks with the works councils on a settlement and restructuring plan.
“We are aware of our responsibility and will be seeking a good path for all those involved together with the works council and trade union,” Lohr stressed. “We are proud of this workforce and would very much like to keep its skills and commitment in the company. We therefore want to offer new jobs at other K+S Group sites to as many employees as possible.”
Employees will also be needed on-site for a long time to come after production is terminated.
In addition, discussions have been held since November 2016 with workforce representatives and the trade union in a joint working group as to possible re-use options against the backdrop of the site’s commercial development. In connection with this, one plan is to operate the aluminum-salt slag recycling facility (REKAL facility) independently of potash production in future, and also to continue to cover and revegetate the tailings pile with the recycled materials. Other measures are currently being examined in depth. Our partners in the local environment should also be included in these deliberations in the future, so as to be able to develop a sustainable concept.
The technological steps taken to shut down production and keep the mine going will be developed as part of a comprehensive project and presented to responsible authorities for their approval.
The costs anticipated this year for the closure fall within the range of the current results estimate.
Read the article online at: https://www.globalminingreview.com/finance-business/29112017/ks-potash-producing-operations-to-terminate-at-the-end-of-2018/