Lignite mining Nochten II, Germany


In December 2006, Vattenfall applied to the Regional Planning Association Upper Lusatia-Lower Silesia in order to extract 300,000,000 tonnes of lignite in the area. For the open-cast mining a displacement of 1,500 people from Rohne, Mulkwitz, Mühlrose, and Schleife is necessary. In October 2013 the Regional Planning Association Upper Lusatia-Lower Silesia has approved the open-cast mining Nochten II. A broad range of environmental justice organizations (EJOs) are opposing the mining proposal of Vattenfall. The initiative Strukturwandel-jetzt is the leading opposition group against the mine. It has placed internet pages with information. The initiative is supported by larger EJOS such as Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND), Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (Nabu) and smaller EJOS such as Nature Friends Germany. Also other organizations are part of the initiative such as political parties The Left and Alliance 90/The Greens. Protest actions have included demonstrations, cultural expositions, climate camps, village and heritage celebrations, production of alternative knowledge, open letters to the German government and to associations in favor of lignite mining. Currently the state government has to decide about the mining project. Opponents have stated to sue against the mining plans.

Basic Data
NameLignite mining Nochten II, Germany
SiteRohne, Mulkwitz, Muehlrose, Trebendorf, Schleife
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 Details300m tonnes of lignite, 18m tonnes of lignite/ per year, time of extraction 2026-2046
Project Area (in hectares)1,200
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Potential Affected Population1,500
Start Date12/2005
Company Names or State EnterprisesVattenfall Europe Mining AG from Germany
NUON from Netherlands
Relevant government actorsRegional Planning Association Upper Lusatia-Lower Silesia, Saxon Ministry of the Interior
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersLeft Party, Alliance 90/The Greens, Green League, Friends of the Earth Germany, Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union, Naturfreunde Deutschlands, Eine Spinnerei
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
International ejos
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Forms of MobilizationCreation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, 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: Desertification/Drought, Soil contamination
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Other environmental related diseases
Othersee description Welzow-Sued
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Land dispossession
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseApplication of existing regulations
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Violent targeting of activists
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Negotiated alternative solution
Development of AlternativesStop open cast mining, focus on renewable energy
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.The Regional Planning Association Upper Lusatia-Lower Silesia has approved the open-cast mine. Now, the Saxon Ministry of interior can approve the open-cast mine. If that happens Environmental Justice Organization will sue against the decision at the court.
Sources and Materials

Saxon Constitution

German Mining law


Gerbaulet, C., Egerer, J., Oei, P. Y., & von Hirschhausen, C. (2012). Abnehmende Bedeutung der Braunkohleverstromung: weder neue Kraftwerke noch Tagebaue benötigt. DIW-Wochenbericht, 79(48), 25-33.

von Hirschhausen, C., & Oei, P. Y. (2013). Gutachten zur energiewirtschaftlichen Notwendigkeit der Fortschreibung des Braunkohlenplans Tagebau Nochten: Im Auftrag der Klima-Allianz Deutschland (No. 72). DIW Berlin: Politikberatung kompakt.


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Media Links

Grandpa Without Lobby
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Excavated Away - Lignite mining eats into Brandenburgs villages
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ContributorGabriel Weber
Last update11/09/2014