Mining, water and raw materials

Mining and raw materials – dealing with massive impacts

Complex approval procedures for opencast mining; subsidence damage; the mining and processing of raw materials (tin, nickel, cobalt, gravel and sand); cessation of mining operations and subsequent issues surrounding the demarcation of responsibility for rising groundwater levels and establishing a good hydrologic balance; making financial provisions for site restoration obligations with the mining authorities; and cavern and geothermic energy projects – whatever your needs, we give you the best and most up-to-date advice.

“We give you the best and most up-to-date advice for your mining project.“

Our team has advised:

  • the German government and the legal successors of lignite mining operations in the former GDR on the structuring and management of the closure and restoration of 218 former opencast mines since 1992 – with costs of more than 10 billion euros the largest environmental project in Europe
  • a major European energy group on the sale of its lignite division, including five opencast mines and all the accompanying legal and regulatory scenarios and issues
  • lignite mining companies in western and eastern Germany on making financial provision for site restoration as well as during negotiations with the German federal states about the completion of legally binding agreements
  • investors on surveying for and mining raw materials (ore, copper, cobalt, nickel) in the Erzgebirge mountain range
  • a major European real-estate investment manager on the purchase of around 80 underground caverns for the storage of oil and gas (valued at over 1 billion euros) on liability risks for site restoration, on the mine property of the investment fund and on the legal liability of the fund investors
  • on the closure of underground mines (potash and salt, ore, etc.) in the German federal states of Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia, including future use as underground disposal and storage sites
  • the German state in the negotiation and regulation of risks for potash mining
  • the German government and a mining concern on post-closure obligations for uranium mining and on flooding procedures for mines that are to be closed down
  • a mining company in negotiations and legal proceedings to determine an upper liability limit for a metal ore mine on its closure
  • gravel and sand companies on legal procedures related to mining
  • lignite companies on the legitimacy of compensation for damage caused by water pumped out of mines

Water – a resource between the market and the state

The water sector has been in a state of flux for some time now. On the one hand, there is a strongly regulated relationship between public water supply, the laws governing fees and charges, and controls to prevent pricing abuses. On the other hand, water laws are under pressure to conform to Europe-wide standards such as the ban on deterioration, the requirement for improvement, and phasing-out obligations.

“Regulation and pressure to conform to Europe-wide standards are a challenge for the water sector.“

Our team has advised:

  • the German federal cartel authority in a pilot lawsuit against a water supply company on basic issues surrounding compensation under public law
  • the German federal cartel authority on a further pilot lawsuit about price reductions achieved by foregoing profits in the course of renationalisation
  • on a key claim brought against a German federal state about issues surrounding fees and charges and about the limits set by the federal constitutional system on the activities of governing authorities
  • several industrial companies with regard to permissions and approvals, including extensions, with a view to the requirements of the Water Framework Directive
  • a number of industrial companies on the drawing up and payment of effluent charges
  • We have prepared reports for the German federal states of Saxony, Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia on the requirements of the Water Framework Directive and the obligations of mining companies after the closure of mines

For further information, contact us at: