Zeche DB: Abandoned coal mine in Germany
Updated: Jun 1
In Germany, the last stone coal mine closed in December 2018, so today, no more of the black gold is being excavated from the depths of the mines.
Many of these coal mines were abandoned and just had to await their future and uncertain fate.
Some of these mines and coal works are being turned into museums to remember the history, which has meant work for many thousands of people. There is old colliery that has been converted for other purposes, such as food halls and creative workshops, and then there are those that are just being torn down.
So that's why I've spent the last few years visiting the part of them that is still waiting for their future.
A tough morning
Zeche DB was huge, and I spent quite a bit of time both getting in but also finding my way around the maze of hallways and conveyor belts.
From the outside, I could see that the place would require some time, but I had not expected that before 12 o'clock, I would have walked over 12,000 steps, and a large part of them on stairs, which must be said to be something of a tough morning.
So it felt pretty great after the visit that I could enjoy a good lunch from the barbecue in the car while I was able to overlook this exciting place.
The site has a lot of train tracks, which have been used to lead the carts that came up from the mine directly to the orange boxes, where the wagons were emptied, and the coal could fall down on the conveyor belts below.
I only spent very little time on the lower part of the work because the most exciting things were on the upper floors.
After the wagons were emptied, they were driven all the way around the plant, back to the shaft, and hoisted approximately 1000 meters down the mine shaft.
For safety reasons, the shaft is closed today, and it is not possible to enter the mine from here. However, ventilation pipes go vertically down to the bottom of the mine, and something is fascinating about standing looking down into the depths.
The actual hoisting system to get equipment and manpower up and down the mine is controlled from a high tower above the plant, and of course, I would also like to see this.
From here, the operator has been able to control the many kilometres of cables.
I made a short video mainly with some drone footage from this colliery.
Coal has been used at both power plants and in the steel industry.
In Belgium, I visited a couple of these giants who have previously made steel.
One of these factories is the Heavy Metal