8 September 2016

Announcement from Works Council of the Werra Potash Plant

More than 12,000 participants in the Werra Valley human chain

Impressive support for the potash miners

On Thursday, 8 September 2016, more than 12,000 people impressively signaled their backing to potash mining in the Werra Valley. Employees with their families, friends, partner companies, unions and representatives from the world of politics came together to form a 13 kilometer long human chain stretching from Unterbreizbach to Heringen, passing through Philippsthal. This is the means by which the three K+S production sites of the Werra combined plant in Hesse and Thuringia have banded together.

Harald Döll, Chairman of the works council at Werra plant and K+S general works council, declared himself overwhelmed by the huge number of participants. “This is living proof that this is not just about our jobs, but also about the future of the entire region and numerous communities throughout Hesse and Thuringia, as well as the future of potash mining in Germany as a whole. I sincerely thank everyone who played a part in sending out this resounding signal.”

"Today is a day of encouragement. A day with a strong signal. And this signal is a very clear yes for potash mining ,"said Michael Vassiliadis, President of “IG BCE” (Mining, Chemical and Energy Industries Union). In Germany there are the world's best working conditions and environmental standards for potash mining. “There have been invested already many millions of Euros in water and environmental protection ,” so Vassiliadis. That will still be necessary and possible in the future, "but it cannot be that we simply close up on the way and don’t find a solution without sending workers on short time."

Mr. Döll called on the political powers in the federal states laying between the Werra and the Weser to act decisively. “We – some 4,400 employees in the mines and production facilities of the Werra plant – expect them to use every effort to protect our jobs and the well-being of an entire region. It is imperative that local politicians work concertedly across state boundaries in the interests of the general good of the public.”

The appeal issued by the works council of the Werra plant and the “IG BCE” was also heard by around 1,700 K+S employees from the other German K+S sites, who had travelled by bus to the Werra Valley. The human chain also included numerous politicians, among whom were Thuringia’s President Minister Bodo Ramelow, and Hesse’s Environmental Minister Priska Hinz. The participants released thousands of balloons into the air as a sign of their solidarity with the potash miners in the Werra Valley.

Norbert Steiner, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of K+S Aktiengesellschaft, who participated in the human chain with his fellow board members Dr. Burkhard Lohr and Dr. Thomas Nöcker, clearly reaffirmed his commitment to the production site in the Werra Valley. “We are committed to local mining – and we are committed to the Werra plant. Our Hattorf, Unterbreizbach und Wintershall sites make a major contribution to the commercial success of our Potash and Magnesium Products business segment, and therefore to the success of the K+S Group as a whole. The Werra combined plant is and will remain a fixed element of our K+S.

Mr. Steiner echoed the sentiments of Mr. Döll, emphasizing the large investments the Company is making in order to improve the environmental situation in the Werra and Weser rivers. “The volume of saline waste water has been reduced by two-thirds since the mid-1990s. And between 2011 und 2015 alone, we have invested around 400 million Euros in this area”, said Mr. Steiner. “And we will be investing a similar amount in coming years, in order to find a long-term solution to the waste management issues on the Werra.”

Mr. Döll also expressed some criticism. “Even getting approvals for short-term waste management self-help measures proves extremely difficult, or these efforts get blocked for reasons of political expediency.” Political representatives and public authorities really need to finally rediscover their discretionary powers. The campaign initiated by the works council and the IG BCE was prompted by the situation in the Werra plant, which has again reached crisis point due to outstanding approvals and the greatly restricted waste management options available during the dry summer months. Since April 2016, up to 1,000 employees of the total workforce of 4,400 once again find themselves in a short-time working arrangement. In order to mitigate production restrictions, the Company is examining additional options for the disposal of saline wastewater, but these efforts are also dependent on public authority approvals.

The Werra plant is the largest site in the entire K+S Group and the subsidiary K+S KALI GmbH, which also encompasses the plants of Bergmannssegen-Hugo in Sehnde (Region of Hanover), Neuhof-Ellers (District of Fulda), Sigmundshall in Wunstorf (Region of Hanover), Zielitz near Magdeburg, and the Company’s head office in Kassel. The German sites of the second-largest K+S subsidiary in Europe, esco – european salt company, are plants at Bernburg in Sachsen-Anhalt, Borth near Rheinberg in North Rhine-Westphalia, Braunschweig-Lüneburg near Wolfsburg and the esco head office in Hanover. The K+S Group employees a total of around 10,000 people in Germany.

About K+S KALI GmbH

K+S KALI GmbH with its headquarters in Kassel mines crude salts containing potassium, magnesium and sulfur in six mines in Germany. A wide range of fertilizer specialties and intermediate products for many different technical, industrial and pharmaceutical applications is produced from them. K+S KALI GmbH is one of the leading suppliers of potash and magnesium products worldwide. The company, which belongs to the K+S Group, employs more than 8,000 people.

More information about K+S KALI GmbH can be found on the company’s website at www.kali-gmbh.com

Your contact persons:

Chairman of the Works Council at the Werra Plant
Harald Döll
Telephone: +49 6620 79-4500

Ivonne Balduf
Telephone: +49 6620 79-4050




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