As the sun beats down on a small vineyard by the rippling waters of Grossraeschen Lake, there’s little sign of the vast wound that lies beneath.
Meuro, the brown-black mine that once dominated the landscape, providing jobs to thousands of workers who toiled in clouds of lignite coal dust, has vanished. Only a floating excavator plucking sunken trees out of the water hints at the effort that’s gone into reshaping this corner of eastern Germany over the past decades.
It’s part of a massive environmental cleanup in Lusatia, a region that provided much of the coal that heated German homes and powered the country’s industrial rise.
Unlike its darker variety, lignite seams – also known as brown coal – often lie close to the surface, meaning it is easiest to just remove layer upon layer from above rather than dig underground shafts. Read More