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01 Sep 2020, 12:48
Alex Dziadosz

Coal company LEAG starts demolition of eastern German mining town

Clean Energy Wire / dpa / Der Spiegel

Coal company LEAG says it is dismantling buildings in the Sorbian town of Mühlrose in the eastern Lausitz region as part of the plan to relocate the town’s residents. The town is slated for destruction to expand the nearby Nochten lignite mine. In a statement, LEAG said that the relocation contract had been signed and in place since March 2019. It rejected claims that the town should not be relocated, saying that these statements created “irresponsible uncertainty” for residents. The evacuation is controversial in part because Germany is trying to phase out the use of coal no later than 2038 and open-cast mines have already been developed, with critics arguing no further expansion is needed to cover the remaining demand. But most of the roughly 200 villagers have agreed to relocate to a nearby municipality and accept compensation from the coal company. LEAG argues that the coal is needed for the Boxberg power plant and a report commissioned by the economy ministry had confirmed this, according to an dpa report carried in Der Spiegel. The two buildings to be demolished are vacant and on property owned by LEAG, the report notes.

Over 130 villages have been resettled in Lusatia since lignite mining began there in the 1860s. In Germany’s coal exit commission, only the representative of the villages threatened by lignite mine extensions in Lusatia voted against the coal exit proposal, arguing that it did not contain assurances to keep threatened villages alive.

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