Garzweiler opencast mine

The Garzweiler opencast mine is located to the west of Grevenbroich and is moving in the direction of Erkelenz. The mine mainly touches Rhein-Erft county, Rhein county Neuss and Heinsberg county.

The lignite is deposited in three seams which, taken together, are 40m thick on average. The coal is some 40 to max 210m below the Earth's surface. It is used entirely to generate electricity in the nearby power plants.

More about Garzweiler opencast mine

Extraction until the year 2045

To underpin the energy supply, mining operations were continued seamlessly, early 2006, in a westward direction in the follow-up mining field Garzweiler II, which measures 48 sq km. Deposited there are 1.3 billion tons of lignite, which are to be extracted by 2045 and account for some 40% of Rhenish lignite output.

Overburden used for recultivation

To expose the lignite, the Garzweiler pit moves a good 140 million m³ of overburden annually, ie loess, gravel and sand. Most of this is used to backfill already depleted areas of the opencast mine. Large sections of the Frimmersdorf / Garzweiler mining field are already fully recultivated today.
The Garzweiler opencast mine, with its Hohenholzer Graben rift, the Kasterer lake local-recreation area, the Könighovener Mulde hollow, the Vollrather Höhe heights and the Elsbachtal valley, has left behind acknowledged, high-quality recultivation areas as post-mining landscape.

New hub for mass transports

In the course of the transition to the Garzweiler II follow-up mine, RWE Power erected a new belt junction not too far from the Jackerath motorway interchange and, hence, in the southwest of the mining field. It is the hub for mass transports inside the opencast mine and the pivot for its further development: the opencast mine will slew in a great arc westwards, and the A61 motorway will make way for mining operations starting in 2017. So, to maintain traffic, the rear section of the Garzweiler opencast mine, between the new Jackerath motorway interchange and the Holz interchange, the A44n will be built mainly on the dump base. Within the scope of a formal public planning procedure, a public hearing was held on 9 February 2010. After completion of the decision-taking phase, construction of the motorway commenced in 2011.

Facts & Figures


Garzweiler opencast mine
Size of the approved mining fieldha11,400
Operating surfacehaap. 3,195
Coal contentmill. t1,100
Overburden-to-coal ratio4.3 : 1
Annual overburden removalmill. m³130 - 150 
Annual coal extractionmill. tap. 35


Bucket wheel excavators
Number of units1411
Capacity ( m³ / day )60,000110,000200,000240,000


Number of units42
Capacity ( m³ / day )110,000240,000


Conveyor belts
Total lengthkm93


Total surfacehaap. 7,370
Rehabilitationhaap. 4,175
of which farmlandhaap. 3,345
of which foresthaap. 660
of which Other (paths, etc)haap. 170


Visitor Service HotlineHuyssenallee 2D-45128 EssenT+49(0)800/8833830 *
E-mail to Visitor Service of RWE Power
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