Lignite has been mined from the Garzweiler coalfields for over 100 years. The mine originated in the town of Grevenbroich and its centre is now in the Rhein-Kreis Neuss and Heinsberg districts. Just as was the case before the mining operation commenced, the area in between is filled with large areas of farmland, which were re-established as part of the recultivation programme. Green areas and wind farms divide up the new plains, which now boast a high level of biodiversity, particularly of species that prefer open landscapes.
In its three-shift operation system, the Garzweiler mine extracts up to 30 million tonnes of lignite every year. It is transported by conveyor belt and industrial railway to the power stations at Neurath and Niederaussem, where it is used to generate electricity.