Garzweiler mine

From Global Energy Monitor

The Garzweiler coal mine is operated by RWE Power, producing 35 million tonnes per annum, in North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany.


The satellite photo below shows the area of the mine North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany.

Loading map...


The mine currently operates in a 3200 ha area, though the mine is approved for 11,400 ha of coalfields. There are 1.1 billion tonnes of reserves and 35 million tonnes of annual production.[1] Garzweiler’s Neurath pit – the core of the operation known as Garzweiler I – began around 1940, with Garzweiler II starting in 2006. Although the current operating license limits extraction to 2045, Garzweiler II, in particular, has proved extremely contentious, with its scope being cut back time and time again.[2]


Garzweiler II is expected to expand in 2023, which will require the removal of several villages in its path.

The state government of North Rhine-Westphalia, responsible for the lignite mines at Inden, Hambach, and Garzweiler, says in its state development plan that the further expansion of these mines is not necessary.[3]


The expansion of the Garzweiler mine in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia threatens the existence of 12 villages that are home to 7,600 residents. Demolition of the first four villages is scheduled to begin in 2023. Acting under the name Menschenrecht vor Bergrecht – Human Rights Before Mining Rights – the alliance of villagers announced in September 2019 they would refuse an expropriation agreement with RWE under which the energy company would pay to resettle them. This would mean the company would have to apply to the regional government for formal permission to dispossess the residents. But the villagers said they would then challenge this in court.[4] In September 2020, villagers lodged a case with Germany’s Constitutional Court, the country's top court, in a bid to save their homes.[5]

Project Details

  • Owner: Rheinisch-Westfälisches Elektrizitätswerk AG (RWE) Power
  • Parent company:
  • Location: North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany
  • GPS coordinates: 51.0839989,6.4529844 (exact)
  • Mine status: Operating
  • Start year: 1940
  • Mineable reserves: 1.1 billion tonnes
  • Coal type: lignite
  • Mine size: 3200 ha
  • Mine depth: 40-210 m
  • Mine type: Surface
  • Production: 35 million tons per year
  • Additional proposed production:
  • Equipment: Open cast mining
  • Number of employees: 1400

Project Expansion Details

  • Status: Proposed
  • Production Capacity:
  • Mine expansion size: 2300 ha
  • Start Year: 2023
  • Source of Financing:

Articles and resources


  1. Garzweiler mine, RWE website, 2017.
  2. Open-pit lignite mine Garzweiler, Clean Energy Wire, 2018.
  3. Germany’s three lignite mining regions, Clean Energy Wire, August 7, 2018.
  4. "Human rights before mining rights: German villagers take on coal firm", The Guardian, September 30, 2019.
  5. "German villagers want top court to save homes from coal mine", Associated Press, September 9, 2020.

Related articles

External resources

External articles