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Protest against Vattenfall’s mining operations

According to the international news last week (May 9-16), more than 3000 protesters participated in an anti-coal campaign in the east of Germany said Greenpeace member Mathias Fridemark. The event was organized by Ende Gelaende to protest against the coal mining of a Swedish company, Vattenfall. Vattenfall announced last April that it planned to sell its mines and two power plants in Germany to Czech operator EPH. Another Czech company, CEZ, withdrew after expressing initial interest.

Excavator Welzow-Süd. Photo 350.org/Tim Wagner

Excavator. Photo 350.org/Tim Wagner

Vattenfall is a Swedish company wholly owned by the Swedish government. Beyond Sweden, the company generates power in Denmark, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, and the United Kingdom. Vattenfall’s operations in Germany currently tendered include lignite open-cast mining Jänschwalde, Welzow-Süd, Nochten and Reichwalde as well as the power generation plants Jänschwalde, Schwarze Pumpe, Boxberg and two blocks in Lippendorf in the Mitteldeutsches Braunkohlerevier, Eastern Germany, representing installed capacity of 8000 MW, with total 8000 employees.

Friday the 13th, three groups of protestors, red-, green- and the blue finger, each having their specific task, marched from their camp onto the streets of Prochim, Germany, into small patches of forest until they reached the 5,000-acre moonscape at Welzow-Süd, Germany, where the lignite mining took place by one of the biggest excavator machines in the world. The excavator, located about 3 kilometers inside the mining zone, while still powered on the machine wasn’t operational because of arriving protesters. The arriving protesters sat down in, on and around the excavator to keep it from operating while discussion further strategies to block trains from reaching the coal-loading station to supply the nearby lignite (or brown coal) power station called the Schwarze Pumpe power station. Producing energy from lignite coal is considered the most-CO2 intensive operation.

Vattenfall’s Schwarze Pumpe power station (German: Kraftwerk Schwarze Pumpe translated: Black Pump Power Station) is a modern lignite-fired power station in the “Schwarze Pumpe” (Black Pump) consisting of 2 × 800 megawatts (MW) units and consumes 20 million tons of this fossilized plant matter each year, leaving behind a lifeless body of desert where once wild life thrived.

The train station responsible for the transport of lignite was blocked by activists for 48 hours starting Friday the1 13th while other activists stayed at the pit for 24 hours making it impossible for the excavator to mine lignite coal. Activists consider their mission to be accomplished. But a group of Wildists, Eye of the Crow / Wild Will, remain skeptical about long-term effects by the activists in Eastern Germany. While operations have been delayed with a fews days, costing Vattenfall money, machinery, buildings and railroad tracks remain untouched and therefore operations could continue after activists leave the area, without too much trouble. Members of Eye of the Crow / Wild Will do see a minor achievement by instilling fear into Czech operator EPH for future potential protests. According to members of Eye of the Crow / Wild Will, Czech operator EPH and other energy companies should consider itself warned by wildists targeting such companies and should immediately cease current operations and future plans for power plants and mining operations in Europe, and other parts of the world, as stated by Wild Will:

“[Wild Will] demand[s] that proposed wildlands reserve systems and reserve networks be immediately implemented in their respective countries. This includes the four major wildways in North America; the reserve systems in Europe and Australia; and all the lands currently protected by national wilderness reserve systems. Roads, dams, power plants, or mines in these areas or affecting these areas should be immediately decommissioned. Any major contributors to global ecological problems, like climate change and the extinction crisis, should immediately cease operations.”

Left Greenpeace member Mathias Fridemark, right Co-founder The Wildist Institute and Wildist Jeremy Grolman. Photo by Ilias Bartolini

Left: Greenpeace member Mathias Fridemark. Right: Co-founder Wild Will and Wildist Jeremy Grolman at Prochim, lausitzcamp, Germany. Photo by Ilias Bartolini.


One Response to “Protest against Vattenfall’s mining operations”

  1. Thank you for recognizing and stating that actions like these, commendable as they are, only disrupt business as usual for a short time. For any serious slowdown of operations, activists need to target and destroy things like machinery, buildings and railroad tracks. While aboveground activists can raise awareness via nonviolent direct actions like this, the seriously effective sabotage requires underground activists.

    Solidarity to all on the side of life!

    Norris Thomlinson
    Deep Green Resistance Webmaster

    Posted by Norris Thomlinson | May 17, 2016, 9:32 pm

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