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Hambach, Germany

The Hambach open-cast coal mine is the largest open-cast mine of Western Europe, covering an area of 80 km2 and around 500 metres deep.
The mine is on the site of the ancient Hambach Forest, which was purchased by the mine’s operating company in 1978. An estimated 90% of the forest has been destroyed to make way for the mine. Protection of the remaining forest from expansion of the mine is being contested in the courts and by activists.
Current coal output is 23 million tonnes per year and utilises the largest automated machinery in the world (220m long, 96m high, and weighing 13,500 tonnes).
In 2029, coal extraction in the Hambach opencast mine will end as part of a statutory coal phase-out in Germany.

Approx area depicted: 200 km2
Date of image: 2020

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