Use Case - Mapping an open cast mine

RWE / Germany

The setting

The Garzweiler opencast mine is an opencast lignite mine of RWE Power (until 2003 of RWE Rheinbraun AG) in the northern Rhenish lignite mining district. The mining area extends between the cities of Bedburg, Grevenbroich, Jüchen, Erkelenz and Mönchengladbach in North Rhine-Westphalia / Germany.

The lignite is deposited in three seams, which together are 40 metres thick on average. The coal lies between 40 and a maximum of 210 meters below the earth’s surface. It is used exclusively for power generation in the nearby power plants.

To secure the energy supply, the open-cast mine was seamlessly integrated into the 48 square kilometer Garzweiler II connection field at the beginning of 2006. 1.3 billion tons of lignite are stored there, which are to be mined by 2045 and account for around 40% of Rhenish lignite production.

To expose the lignite, the Garzweiler open-cast mine moves a good 140 million cubic meters of overburden, i.e. loess, gravel and sand, every year. This quantity is mainly used to fill already carburized areas of the opencast mine. Large parts of the Frimmersdorf / Garzweiler extraction field have already been completely recultivated.


Facts & Figures

100 m AGL

Flight time:
23 min


1,3 cm




0,22 km² /22 ha


4 m/s

Pictures taken



Side 50 %
Forward 60 %

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