From the ‘Glückauf’ potash mine to a modern service provider in mining-related field
The first potash seams and rock salt deposits were discovered beneath the Thuringian town of Sondershausen as long ago as in 1891. Both the town and the wider region experienced a rapid economic boom when the first potash mine opened in 1893. In GDR times, the Sondershausen site was integrated into East Germany’s potash conglomerate. By 1991, some three thousand people were working above and below ground at the mine in Sondershausen. Roughly 110 million tonnes of potash were extracted between 1896 and 1991.
Privatisation came in 1995 in the form of Glückauf Sondershausen Entwicklungs- und Sicherungsgesellschaft mbH (GSES). GSES has since grown into a modern, dynamic mining company, which also opens its doors to visitors: the show mine was established in 1998.
The first job undertaken by GSES was to backfill mining voids. Rock salt was first extracted in 2004. A permit was issued in 2005 for the operation of the underground disposal facility.
Backfilling mining voids enables GSES not only to prevent subsidence at ground level, but also to provide an ecological solution for the safe disposal of industrial waste material which makes sound financial sense too.
Facts and figures