K+S commissioned study shows K+S Verbundwerk Werra is a central building block for the economic and demographic development of the region

  • With 4,400 employees at the Werra plant, K+S is the most important employer in the region
  • Company helps secure a further 3,000 jobs at suppliers in Hesse and Thuringia
  • Medium-sized businesses in the region received orders worth € 195 million in 2012 alone
  • More than 3,300 suppliers under contract
  • Taxes of about € 80 million mainly benefit local site communities and the region
  • Region’s tourism profits from potash mining

Kassel, Germany, 6-2-2014 — /EuropaWire/ — The most important employer, a significant client for medium-sized business and a vital taxpayer for local authorities – the K+S Verbundwerk Werra is “a central building block for the economic and demographic development of the region.” That is the conclusion arrived at in a 114-page scientific study that was commissioned by K+S and prepared by the Institut GMA – Gesellschaft für Markt- und Absatzforschung mbH, Munich – in conjunction with BHP Brugger und Partner, Zurich. The authors of the study describe the Werra Plant as “a key pillar for stabilizing the population of the region.” The plant has an unequivocally positive and fundamental impact on the region of eastern Hesse/western Thuringia. This not only benefits the labour and vocational training market, as the plant also has an impact on local communities and medium-sized businesses in the region. As a result, K+S is “the central hub in an intensively interconnected, regional value creation system.”

“Frequently, sections of the public only acknowledge the interventions in the natural environment necessitated by potash mining. The current study confirms, and in an impressive manner, the numerous positive effects that potash mining has for the region and underscores the great importance that our plant also has for medium-sized business as well as for local communities,” says Steffen Kirchhof, managing director of K+S KALI GmbH.

K+S commissioned the study in order to examine the socioeconomic impact of the Werra plant in connection with upcoming administrative proceedings.

The researchers analysed the impact of the plant on its local and regional environment and determined direct and indirect effects on the infrastructure, population and economy. In addition to the assessment of statistical data and specialist publications, 26 expert interviews were also key instruments used for the study. Experts from the local/regional economy, health care, environmental protection, public agencies, political circles and tourism were among those questioned.

Value creation secures employment and produces quality of life

In addition to the 4,400 employees working at the four Werra plant sites in Hesse and Thuringia, the Verbundwerk also has a considerable indirect employment effect on the districts of Hersfeld-Rotenburg and Wartburg as well as on the peripheral areas of neighbouring districts. The entire value created in the form of plant wages, taxes and purchases comes to over € 420 million a year and is the basis in the region for a further 2,500 to 3,000 jobs indirectly connected with the potash industry. If the related households are factored in, this means that a total of about 16,000 citizens are completely or largely dependent on potash mining in the Werra district for a living.

Numerous sectors profited from the € 195 million spent on orders placed with regional medium-sized business in 2012, the year examined in the study. They included tradesmen, transport and logistics companies, construction firms, companies from the steel and plant engineering sector as well as numerous service providers and retailers. While, at about € 125 million, most purchases were made in the districts of Hersfeld-Rotenburg and Wartburg, there were also found to be economic ties with the districts of Fulda (62 million), Schwalm-Eder (2 million) and Vogelsbergkreis (about 1.8 million).

Local communities where the plant has its sites were able to additionally profit from tax revenues in particular. In terms of “tax revenue generated per inhabitant,” Heringen and Philippsthal were on the level of Wiesbaden and were even well ahead of Thuringia’s capital city of Erfurt.

“For the region, this value creation facilitates capital expenditure on urban development, the social infrastructure as well as leisure and sports facilities. This not only benefits the Werra district’s attractiveness as a tourist destination, which would be difficult to develop without the infrastructure available, but also enables the people living there to enjoy a high degree of quality of life,” the report goes on to say.

Jobs and vocational training places stabilise population trends

By providing skilled jobs and offering wide-ranging vocational training, the Werra plant is a factor stabilising population trends in the region. “Without the jobs at the Werra plant, the population could be expected to decline significantly, with the young and well-educated segments of the populations being affected in particular,” say the authors. About 300 trainees, of which more than one third come from Thuringia, are currently being trained at the Werra plant to become experts in a total of eight different career paths and upon successful completion of their training, most of them will be taken on as employees. The plant therefore accounts for a proportion of about 15 per cent of all vocational training places in the Hersfeld-Rotenburg.

In addition, K+S is cooperating with the Heringen Werra Valley School in running an educational programme offering two qualifications, “secondary school leaving diploma and chemical-technical assistant,” by providing plant laboratories and specialists for the practical training of the chemical laboratory assistants. Further cooperation programmes with schools in local communities in Hesse and Thuringia assist with providing qualifications for young people and helping them in deciding on careers.

A stimulus provider for the region

The authors also attach great importance to K+S Group facilities in the Werra Valley that are not directly connected with potash production, as their presence in the region is directly linked to the plant. Examples are the “Werra Kombi-Terminal” container terminal Philippsthal and the construction of a new centre for analytics and research at Unterbreizbach.

As a central logistics facility for the transporting of containers, the “Werra Kombi-Terminal” is also available to freight forwarders based in the region and gives them attractively priced and service-oriented access to the seaports of Hamburg and Bremerhaven. “The terminal enhances the transport infrastructure of the Werra Valley by means of an important long-distance component and increases its attractiveness as a centre for logistics,” say the authors.

The construction of the centre for analytics and research as a central K+S Group facility also creates substantial personnel hiring needs, so that once the centre starts operating, some 90 highly qualified scientists, engineers and technical will find work there. This will also make a contribution to the demographic stabilisation of the region.

Last but not least, tourism also profits from the region’s mining tradition. The authors draw attention to the appeal of the Merkers Adventure Mine, which attracts some 80,000 visitors a year, the potash mining museum at Heringen and the attractiveness of the tailings piles for nature lovers and climbers. “The tailings piles are unique landmarks,” stress the authors.

In conclusion, the authors of the study state that “the Werra plant has a positive impact overall on socioeconomic structures and trends in the region.”  Given the structural character of the region, they see no institution other than the Werra Verbundwerk having such an impact as a result of economic activities.

The study entitled “Sozio-ökonomische Wirkungen des Werkes Werra” can be downloaded from www.k-plus-s.com/en/gesellschaft/impulsgeber-fuer-die-region.html.

About K+S KALI GmbH

Within the K+S Group, K+S KALI GmbH is responsible for the potash and magnesium products area. In six mines in Germany, the Company mines salts containing potash, magnesium and sulphur and produces a wide range of high-quality products from them for the agricultural, industrial, healthcare and nutrition sectors. Of the approximately 8,000 people employed by the Company, more than 5,000 are based in Hesse and Thuringia.
More information about K+S KALI GmbH can be found on the Company’s website at www.kali-gmbh.com.

Ulrich Göbel
Public Relations
Spokesman
Phone: +49 561 9301 1722
ulrich.goebel@k-plus-s.com

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