Lignite mining Jänschwalde (Horno), Germany


In 1994 the Brandenburg state government decides the lignite mining plan Jaenschwalde and thereby continuation of the mine Jaenschwalde (operated by the enterprise Laubag) to the Sorbian village of Horno (in Lower Sorbian: Rogow). Against this approval, the municipality of Horno filed suit to the Administrative Court of Cottbus. The country s Constitutional Court declared the lignite mining plan Mining Jaenschwalde unconstitutional. According to the state constitution the dissolution of a municipality requires a law. In 1997 the Lignite Mining Policy Act (Horno Law) was decided by the Parliament of Brandenburg. Thereafter, Horno was dissolved and integrated into the community Jaenschwalde. Thereafter the PDS parliamentary party and the municipality Horno filed suit to the the country s constitutional court action against this law because it violates the constitutional rights of the Sorbs. In 1998 people from Horno filed suit against the Federal Republic of Germany at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, which was rejected in 2000. Later another lawsuit by a forest owner from Horno was successful at the first instance and leaded to a stop of mining just outside of Horno. However, the approval was rejected by the second instance. In 2001, after the takeover of Laubag by the Swedish government owned enterprise Vattenfall, the Swedish parliament discusses the Horno case, without any positive outcome for Horno. The resettlement of the citizen from Horno starts in 2002. The last people remaining in Horno (Gromm family) were dispossessed in 2004. The last house was vacated in 2005.

Basic Data
NameLignite mining Jänschwalde (Horno), Germany
SiteHorno/ Jänschwalde
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Coal extraction and processing
Specific Commodities
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsOverburden: 143,000,000 tonnes per year, Lignite mining: 13,000,000 tonnes per year
Project Area (in hectares)60,150
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population350
Company Names or State EnterprisesVattenfall Europe Mining AG from Germany
NUON from Netherlands
Relevant government actorsThe government of Brandenburg
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersGreenpeace, BUND (Friends of the Earth Germany)
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LATENT (no visible organising at the moment)
When did the mobilization beginUNKNOWN
Groups MobilizingFarmers
International ejos
Local ejos
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil erosion, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Potential: Soil contamination
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCompensation
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Development of Alternativesstop lignite mining, focus on renewable energy
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.Major part of the village were deconstructed in 2004. The last remaining couple was dispossessed in 2005.
Sources and Materials

Constitution of Brandenburg

German Mining Law


HEAL, Health impacts of lignite-fired power plants
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Hüttl, R. F., & Weber, E. (2001). Forest ecosystem development in post-mining landscapes: a case study of the Lusatian lignite district. Naturwissenschaften, 88(8), 322-329.

Grünewald, U. (2001). Water resources management in river catchments influenced by lignite mining. Ecological engineering, 17(2), 143-152.

Krümmelbein, J., Bens, O., Raab, T., & Anne Naeth, M. (2012). A history of lignite coal mining and reclamation practices in Lusatia, eastern Germany. Canadian Journal of Soil Science, 92(1), 53-66.


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ContributorGabriel Weber
Last update11/09/2014