Thuringia, Germany, 1-4-2014 — /EuropaWire/ — Thuringia’s Minister President Christine Lieberknecht today paid a visit to the Werra potash plant in the Hesse-Thuringia potash district at the invitation of Norbert Steiner, the Chairman of the K+S Board of Executive Directors. During an underground tour, Ms. Lieberknecht informed herself on the extraction and processing of domestic raw materials as an important basis for a modern industrial society, the significant progress made on water protection and the current development of the Thuringian site. The Unterbreizbach mine is part of the K+S Werra Verbund plant, to which Hattorf and Wintershall belong on the Hesse side.
“Potash mining is the decisive cornerstone of employment in this region”, said Norbert Steiner. “K+S understands itself to be a reliable partner for Thuringia”. More than 1,000 of the 4,500 employees of the Werra Verbund plant work in Thuringia. That makes K+S one of the biggest employers in the western part of the free state. Additionally, about 750 employees from Thuringia work at the two Hesse potash sites of the Werra Verbund plant. With about 120 trainees from Thuringia, K+S offers young people from the region career prospects at the Werra plant. With the Merkers Adventure Mine, K+S also offers a tourist attraction which annually attracts more than 80,000 visitors.
K+S has been consistently modernising and expanding the Unterbreizbach site since the combination of the West and East German potash industry in 1993. Steiner: “Since the potash merger, we have invested more than € 380 million in this thuringian site, because we were convinced of the future viability from the very beginning.”
K+S can also show major successes in reducing production residues at the Unterbreizbach site. Thus, since the end of the 1990s, after changes in the processing process, the solid residue is being transferred to underground openings as hydraulic backfilling. This means of disposal occurs on account of the favourable geological conditions only found at this site, and makes a tailing pile dispensable. In this way, it was possible to reduce the amount of saline wastewater by over 80%. Since 2010, saline wastewater which cannot be avoided in production is being disposed of in Hesse under the transstate wastewater network.
Measures on water protection
Thuringia too benefits significantly from the implementation of the Werra package of measures on water protection. Thus, only a few days ago, apart from two other major projects in the Hesse part of the plant, the large-scale facility for cold preliminary decomposition in Unterbreizbach was also officially commissioned, which lays an important foundation for the full reutilisation of the site’s process wastewater. With its package of measures, K+S is pursuing its goal of halving the volume of saline wastewater that inevitably arises in connection with potash production to seven million cubic metres by 2015. In 2006, it was still 14 million cubic metres. With the recent start-up of the major projects, K+S will have already achieved 90 per cent of that goal.
K+S is an international commodities company. We have been mining and processing mineral raw materials for 125 years. The products we produce from them are used worldwide in agriculture, food and road safety and are important elements in numerous industrial processes. The nutrients potash and salt are accompanying the megatrend for the future: A constantly growing global population is becoming increasingly prosperous and striving for a more modern standard of living, which results in an increasing consumption of mineral raw materials. We serve the resulting growth in demand from production sites in Europe, North America and South America as well as through a global distribution network. K+S is the world’s largest salt producer and one of the top potash providers worldwide. With more than 14,000 employees, K+S achieved revenues in financial year 2013 of about € 4 billion and an EBIT of € 656 million. K+S is the commodities stock on the German DAX index. Learn more about K+S at www.k-plus-s.com.
About K+S KALI GmbH
K+S KALI GmbH based in Kassel extracts crude salts containing potassium, magnesium and sulphur from its six mines in Germany. These are used to produce a wide range of fertiliser specialties and preliminary products for many different technical, industrial and pharmaceutical applications. K+S KALI GmbH is one of the world’s leading suppliers of potash and magnesium products. The company belonging to the K+S Group employs about 8,000 people, more than 1,000 are based at the Unterbreizbach and Merkers sites in Hesse and Thuringia. You can find further information about K+S KALI GmbH on the company website at www.kali-gmbh.com.
Note to editors:
Current photos for the press of the minister president’s visit to K+S are available from about 15:00 hours at www.k-plus-s.com.