German Energy giant RWE has been mining the district for decades, meaning that in order to continue operations at its Garzweiler, Inden and Hambach mines, it has had to expand them.
RWE spokeswoman Laura Hoeboer-Schneider told ILN that since 1948, the company has demolished and rebuilt towns in the region, resettling more than 30,000 people in the process.
The company’s massive open pit lignite Garzweiler mine has had its resources depleted.
In operation since 1983, the mine is being filled in progressively with earth dug out of its conjoined twin, Garzweiler II.
The expansion will measure 48sq.km and, when combined with the old Garzweiler mine, totals more than 100sq.km.
The 1.3 billion ton mine expansion began operation in 2006 and is creeping gradually towards the small town of Immerath.
According to a report from AFP, around 7600 people are being resettled around the mine, with 900 of those coming from Immerath.
The company is building a new town for the residents, which is to be called New Immerath.
“Their dead have been relocated to a new cemetery here and a new school and kindergarten have been built,”AFP reported.
Hoeboer-Schneider says the relocation “continues very well”
“We are working closely with the region’s surrounding residents,” she said.
RWE is financing the entire operation but Hoeboer-Schneider said the company had no figures for the cost.