The RAG-Stiftung is responsible for financing the perpetual obligations of the German coal mining industry and, to this end, continuously expands its assets. In addition, the RAG-Stiftung funds projects in the fields of education, science and culture in the former mining regions along the Ruhr and Saar rivers as well as in Ibbenbüren.
Following the end of coal mining, there are three tasks that must be carried out over an indefinite period of time, and all three have to do with the management and control of water. The RAG-Stiftung is responsible for financing them.
Pit water management
RAG AG is responsible for pit water management in the former hard coal mining regions. At the bottom of a former mineshaft, hundreds of metres below the surface, the pit water is collected and transported to the surface by powerful pumps and pipes, then channelled into watercourses. The pumping system is designed redundantly. In the event of a malfunction, each pump can be quickly replaced by another. The pit water concept for the post-mining era will, in the medium term, require only six central pit water drainage stations in the Ruhr region.
Centuries of mining operations have also changed the local landscape. Entire regions have subsided, in extreme cases by as much as 25 metres. The surface water at these locations must be actively regulated now and in the future in order to prevent the accumulation of water in these hollows. Special pumping facilities must be operated and maintained, and bodies of water must be deepened or barricaded with dykes to ensure that the water is drained off.
In some of the former mining regions, especially on the grounds of former coking plants, there are contaminated areas that must be cleaned up. After the contaminated groundwater has been located, it is drained off and purified in order to prevent contaminated water from mixing with clean water and spreading. The effectiveness of these measures is regularly monitored.