Environment

menschen-hand

The extraction and processing of raw materials always involves intervening in nature. We work continuously to limit this impact to the minimum and to find solutions to environmental and social challenges. For the purpose of environmentally compatible production whilst at the same time maintaining economic efficiency, we use well-engineered mining methods and treatment processes.

In the area of environment we set ambitious targets in the material issues water, waste and energy/climate.

Water

  • Ending deep well injection of saline waste water from potash production in Germany by end of 2021, no application for renewal
  • Reducing saline process water
  • Promoting research and development as well as innovation activities
 

We use water in a large number of processes. These range from mining and production to the use of our products in the agricultural industry.

Freshwater is introduced into solution mining beds through a drill hole, for example, which results in chambers filled with a saturated brine solution. The brine is then conveyed to the surface via a pipeline for further processing. Our water-intensive production is located in regions where a sufficient quantity of water is available. In relation to the application of plant nutrients, one research focus of the IAPN with a view to water and resource efficiency is on following current trends and researching the general conditions required for soil fertility. The results will benefit agriculture.

Water withdrawal

By proactively address future scarcity and foster resource efficiency we improve the water management. Morton Salt has defined specific targets for reducing its freshwater usage by 10% by 2020 based on 2013 data. We use water of variable origin and quality, including seawater, river water, ground water and drinking water.

Wastewater

Unusable liquid residues accumulate in addition to solid residues when processing potash and magnesium crude salts. These include wastewater from production processes as well as saline wastewater solutions caused by rainfall on uncovered tailing piles (so-called pile wastewater).

More information on potash mining and water protection can be found here.

Waste (solid residues)

Reducing the environmental impact and conserving natural resources by re-examining the potential of residues stored on tailings piles.

 

Most of our solid waste can be categorised as mining waste.This occurs during the extraction and processing of crude potash salts and is piled up using state of the art equipment in accordance with statutory requirements, or placed in mine openings underground. Non-mining waste that accumulates in considerably lower volumes is also disposed of in accordance with regulations.

Pile Management

Worldwide, piling up solid residues from potash production is among the state of the art techniques. Depending on the deposit type, a certain amount can be accommodated underground as backfill material, the rest is piled up above ground. Tailings piles are created and configured depending on the conditions at the individual locations. Comprehensive monitoring schedules have been defined by the licensing authorities for the tailings piles.

Energy & Climate

Reducing the carbon footprint and improving energy efficiency to enhance competitiveness.

 

To ensure our competitiveness, we must optimise energy consumption. In addition to its positive impact on the economic efficiency of K+S, effective energy management should reduce energy-related impact on the environment, such as greenhouse gas emissions.

The energy management system contributes to more efficient use of all utilised sources of energy and to continuous optimisation of K+S energy costs. In addition to the large number of measures implemented, increased awareness on the part of our employees of careful use of energy also contributes.