Uranium heap landscape


Historical records of ore mining in the Ore Mountains begin in 1168, when silver ores were discovered in the vicinity of today's Freiberg. More than 800 years of mining history of the Ore Mountains are based on this discovery.

Large, sprawling and highly contaminated waste dumps were typical for the uranium ore mining area of Hartenstein-Aue-Schlema. After 1990 Wismut GmbH started a large and costly (several billion euros) decontamination, redevelopment and redesigning program for all of the uranium sites in the Saxon Ore Mountains. The result of this effort is the new ‘designed landscape’ of the Hartenstein-Aue-Schlema region – the ‘heap landscape’ of the Uranium Mining Landscape that represents formative landscape changes caused by uranium ore mining during the second half of the 20th century.

The element composes the redeveloped waste heaps of Halde 371 I and II, Halde 296, Halde 186, Halde 366, Halde 66/207, Halde 38 old and new, Halde 312, Halde 64, Hammerberghalde, Halde 12/259/309, Halde 310, Halde 382 and 382 West, Halde 208 and Halde 372 as well as the preserved and still used air shafts Schacht 382 (air shaft from 1959) and Schacht 372 (air shaft from 1956).

The large waste heap of Shaft Complex 371 is located adjacent to the back side of the shaft building. Waste was conveyed up an inclined plane to construct the tip, and redevelopment is still in progress.

The heap of Shaft 366 is located on the eastern shore of the Zwickau Mulde river in the area of the Alberoda district of the town Aue. Today, the motorway approach road between Hartenstein and Aue traverses the remediated heap area. Heap 366 originated from 1949 with the waste from shafts 186, 366 and 383 as well as various adit headings. Individual heaps were first created and finally combined into a heap complex of 7.7 million m³ heap volume and a 40-ha footprint. Remediation work on heap 366 started in 1997 and included a partial redistribution of 3.5 million tonnes of heap material and a cover with an insulating layer made up of mineral soil. Once the cover was applied, the remediation property was planted. The profiling work in the north-western plateau area also included the contour adjustment to the area which has been used as a model plane flying site since 2004. In December 2004, the remediation company completed the profiling work to create the final contour of heap 366. The former towering terraconic heap which dominated the landscape was flattened by about 25 m and its steep fill slope moderated to 22 degrees.

The surface facilities of the neighbouring shaft 186 were likewise dismantled to create 750m³ of radioactive rubble and scrap which is stored in heap 366.