After the mining there are new chances
Even when the mining of Neuburg Siliceous Earth is carried out with high respect for the environment, it nonetheless represents an intervention into nature. This is why HOFFMANN MINERAL since several decades prior to the startup of a new mining pit develops plans for the later reintegration of the area in the pertinent ecosystem. In cooperation with survey authorities, Forest Office representatives, Nature Protection specialists and ground owners, economical and ecological interests are brought in accordance. The refilling of all layers is only carried out with natural materials. Already during the excavation the valuable mold will be stored separately in order to be used later on for the recultivation.
With heavy involvement and considerable depenses, for instance, fully new biotopes are created. Here a combined concept of recultivation and renaturation measures comes into play. Recultivation describes the reproduction of a cultural landscape after the extraction of raw materials. Renaturation demands the creation of a situation without soils rich in nutrients, as for example it was the case in earlier times for river valleys after inondations. A bare area should be able to develop by itself slowly and by natural means. Just the structure of small water areas and dry surfaces as well as the nature of the natural soil will be known here. This creates not only useful forestry and agricultural areas, but also habitats and retreat grounds for rare animals and plants: a new chance for the biodiversity of Nature!
When opening a new mining pit, after the winter uprooting the topmost active ground layers (mold) are taken away and stored in dump grounds. The work with specially developed machines (ripper tooth, root cutter, caterpillar with extra-broad chain undercarriage) and the planting of the dump grounds with deep-rooting and nitrogen introducing species maintain or even improve the quality of the ground during its storage.
After the excavation of the siliceous earth, the open pit is refilled with unpolluted material. Subsequently, the mold will be applied on top in a mild way. Ground root material and bushes help increase the nutrient offer of the ground. Additional high value mold from regional construction projects will be added to reach the guaranteed mold strength.
Special treatments and the sowing of an intertillage (such as a mixture of lucerne and clover) prepare the mold for the future planting. This way, the new plants, such as young trees or field crops, can easily make roots in the loose ground. After this, the area will be planted by HOFFMANN MINERAL according to the demands of the owner. The company will look after the area for another 5 years, after which it will be completely turned back to the owner.
The installation of collection ponds for big amounts of rain makes sense also during the recultivation period. By way of flat water biotopes, such ponds offer valuable habitat to a great many rare animal species and plants, which is a rather rare opportunity in the dry karst and in the environment shaped by the agricultural industry.