17 Dec 2018, 13:20
Sören Amelang

Closure of German hard coal mining this week is “end of an epoch”

Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung / Welt am Sonntag

Miners will present the last piece of hard coal mined in Germany to the country’s president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, in a ceremony to mark the end of the industry on Friday. Reiner Burger writes in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that the event in the western German city of Bottrop will mark the “end of an epoch” that shaped Germany’s economic development in the 19th and 20th century. “But the age of coal will not end on Friday in Bottrop. Germany imports [hard] coal on a large scale – not only because it is still needed for power stations despite the energy transition, but also because it is indispensable for steel production.”
Richard Kämmerlings asks in an article for Welt am Sonntag why a “coal nostalgia” can still be so pervasive in mining regions despite the fact that mining was always highly dangerous and exploited people and nature. “In retrospect, coal appears as a dark and dirty shadow of industrial modernity” that “brought humanity to the edge of self-destruction,” writes Kämmerlings.

For background, read the CLEW factsheet Coal in Germany.

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