esco Plant Bernburg: Mine backfill in the Nordfeld (north section) goes into operation

The esco salt plant at Bernburg today obtained the mining permit from the State Office of Geology and Mining (LAGB), allowing it to start the backfill operation in the Nordfeld. In collaboration with its partner, AUREC GmbH, mining chambers that had been excavated for salt production in the years between 1984 and 1998 will now be filled with backfill materials, with a view to the long-term reduction of surface subsidence in the area of the municipality of Ilberstedt. The project is set to run for at least ten years.

In a formal ceremony, representatives of esco, the mining authority, K+S Entsorgung and AUREC cut the red ribbon before the first truck with backfill material departed to the Nordfeld on 22 January, 2016.

Following completion of the backfill work in the Ostfeld (east section) of the mine in the area of the south-eastern periphery of Bernburg, the work to stabilize mining areas that have undergone particularly intensive use will now be continued in the north. The applications in this respect had been submitted to the licensing authority at the end of 2014. In the meantime, the salt plant has provided the necessary conditions underground for the seamless transfer of the backfill operation.

Investment creates prospects of 30 new jobs

esco and AUREC will invest a total of around 22 million euros in the project up to 2017. While, underground, a four kilometre-long connection roadway from the Gröna shaft to the Nordfeld needed to be developed, the infrastructure extended and new vehicles acquired, AUREC is expanding the acceptance and processing capacities for mine backfill materials above ground. The project will create 30 new permanent jobs in the medium term.

The esco salt plant at Bernburg and AUREC have been collaborating on mine backfill since 1992. AUREC produces backfill materials with defined physical properties from mineral components (excavated soil, rubble, foundry and moulding sands etc.), residues from combustion plants (slags and filter dusts) and sludges (for example, from drilling work or from sand traps). Miners of the salt plant are inserting these into former excavation caverns underground, resulting in a stabilization of the pillar system and a reduction of surface subsidence in the long term. Up to now, around three million tons of backfill material have been inserted in the Ostfeld of the mine. This work, for which AUREC has so far utilized an annual acceptance and processing capacity of 250,000 tons, will shortly be completed. Cooperation within the K+S Group is being coordinated by K+S Entsorgung GmbH.

About the Bernburg salt plant

The Bernburg salt plant is one of three German salt mines operated by esco and uses the high-quality Bernburg salt deposits both to extract rock salt and to produce brine for the manufacture of evaporated salt and as a basic raw material for the chemical industry. The plant's range of products includes table salts, industrial salts and salts for the chemical industry, as well as de-icing salt for winter road maintenance services. With around 440 employees, the salt plant is one of the largest production companies in the Salzlandkreis.

More information about the esco plant Bernburg

Contact for the press / publishers:

Ulrich Göbel
Phone: +49 561 9301-1722

Additional information about the photo: (from left to right) Erich Krug, Managing Director of esco – european salt company GmbH & Co. KG; Tanja Marie Fischoeder, Head of Mining Department of the Landesamt für Geologie und Bergwesen (State Office for Geology and Mining) in Staßfurt; Matthias Plomer, Managing Director of K+S Entsorgung GmbH; Fred Köhler, Managing Director of AUREC