GERMANY In October last year Vattenfall's Board of Directors decided that the company should investigate the options for selling off its lignite operations in eastern Germany. The decision also means that no new open-cast mines will be opened until the ownership issue is resolved.


"We haven't made any investment decisions and no permit processes have been completed. There will be no question of expansion until the ownership issue has been investigated," says Vattenfall's General Counsel Anne Gynnerstedt. 

Find out whether the conditions are right
An application process for a permit to expand the existing open-cast mines in Welzow-Süd and Nochten has been under way since 2007.

Permit processes take many years and are initiated as a matter of course, but operations can never be expanded, even if a permit has been obtained, unless a decision to invest has been made. 

"The purpose of the dialogue or consultation we have with local residents, politicians and other stakeholders is to find out whether the conditions are right for new open-cast mines, and it is part of the permit process. But it doesn't mean that expansion is under way. Vattenfall hasn't made any decisions regarding investment," says Gynnerstedt. 

65 million tonnes
The reason for the decision to investigate the options for selling its lignite operations is that Vattenfall has set itself the target of reducing its CO2 exposure to 65 million tonnes a year as of 2020. 

Visit by politicians
On Sunday 3 May Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet published a report on Vattenfall's permit processes for German lignite mining.

Amongst others, the newspaper interviewed leader of the Swedish Left Party (Vänsterpartiet) Jonas Sjöstedt who recently visited the Lausitz area. 

New mines planned in spite of Government ban (in Swedish)


Nochten 2:

Lignite plan (a state planning decision, not a permission):
05.03.2014: Plan approved by the Free State of Saxony`s Ministry of Interior`s

02.04.2014: Plan adopted by the Regional Planning Association of Saxony

15.05.2014: Plan published and legally valid

20.08.2014: Claim of an NGO (BUND) and a citizen against the lignite plan

09.04.2015: Higher Administrative Court of Saxony rejected both claims (written judgment is not on hand until now)

06. 2015: Expected appeal against the judgment of the Higher Administrative Court to the Federal Administrative Court

Framework Operating Plan (permission procedure):
20.10.2014: Submission of the Framework Operating Plan to the mining authority, begin of the permission procedure

12.2014/04.2015: Participation of the public, the municipals and the NGO`s

Next steps have to be executed/undertaken by the mining authority in the ongoing permission procedure, NOT by Vattenfall:

05.2015 - … (open): Evaluation of the received statements to the plan by the mining authority

09.2015 - … (open): Public hearing

09.2016 - … (open): Plan approval by the mining authority (= fundamental permission, but approval of more detailed operation plans are needed afterwards)

Resettlement preparation:
18.02.2015: Negotiations conc. the resettlement agreements with “Gemeinde Trebendorf” finished, with “Gemeinde Schleife” to a large extend

04.03.2015: Municipal council of Trebendorf approved the draft agreements and invited Vattenfall to sign the contracts

01.04.2015: Vattenfall announced not to sign the agreements with Trebendorf and Schleife but to wait for a new owner to sign.

No contracts signed.

Welzow II:

Lignite plan (a state planning decision, not a permission):
03.06.2014: Plan approved by the State of Brandenburg
02.09.2014: Plan published and legally valid

Until now no claims against the plan

Permission procedure (Framework Operating Plan):
Currently the Framework Operating Plan is prepared by Vattenfall, plan to the mining authority could be submitted in 2016  with possible approval 2018.

Resettlement preparation:
05.2014: Negotiations about basics of resettlement with municipality “Stadt Welzow” ongoing, several steps behind Nochten.

No contracts signed

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