The state government has abandoned its plans to expand priority areas for gypsum mining in the old district of Osterode and will present a revised draft for the new state regional planning program (LROP), which provides for "withdrawing all expansion proposals." This emerges from the written answer to a current question of the FDP parliamentary group, which was published on the website of the state parliament.
Accordingly, the enlargement of the priority area for raw material extraction near Petershutte – the area at the so-called gypsum edge – is off the table, as are several areas in the Bad Sachsa and Walkenried area. Only a priority area for raw material extraction near uhrde, which has already been defined and is both a dolomite and gypsum deposit, is now also to be defined as a gypsum deposit in the new LROP. The Cabinet is expected to present the draft revised by the Ministry of Agriculture (ML) in October. After cabinet approval, a second participation procedure will be opened for this purpose.
The state government's response continues: "In the course of revising the draft, the State Office for Mining, Energy and Geology (LBEG) has re-examined the remaining mining reserves in the gypsum area based on current data. Based on this review, the ML, in coordination with the Ministry of Economy, Labor, Transport and Digitalization, which is responsible for the ies of extractive industries, has made a reassessment of the proposed extensions. The result of this assessment is that there is currently no acute need for action that would make an extension of the priority areas for raw material extraction gypsum mandatory at the present time."
In addition, the government continues, "that the neighboring state of Thuringia has recently called for a coordinated approach and at the federal level, a federal-state working group has currently been set up to develop an overview of reservoir stocks, needs for action and options for action.Lower Saxony's Agriculture Minister Otte-Kinast is therefore working in coordination with the Environment Ministry "to ensure that the proposed extensions are withdrawn"."
Expert opinion planned
In addition, the Ministry of Agriculture plans to commission an expert opinion "which will address ies of remaining deposit reserves, preferential use of underground mining options, demand forecasts, and recycling and substitution options (including synthetic production of specialty gypsum for medical applications)."
All articles on the gypsum discussion in the southern Harz region
In their question on gypsum mining in the southern Harz, the questioners from the FDP parliamentary group referred to an article from the Braunschweiger Zeitung (BZ), which had also appeared in the Harz Kurier.