Clearance of the Hermanice slag-heap
The Hermanice slag-heap is the largest slag-heap complex in the Ostrava region and represents one of its main environmental burdens. It is a dump site for mining waste that was created at a time when technology did not yet allow coal to be completely separated from the waste rock with which it was mined. The slag-heap thus contains not only rock, but also remnants of coal; this material characteristically burns under the surface with low levels of oxygen present, releasing harmful pollutants into the atmosphere. The only way of dealing with this problem permanently is to completely clear the slag-heap and to separate the coal from the rock.
This process is currently in its pilot phase; full operations will be launched next year, and the slag-heap will be completely cleared within 10 years. At full capacity the equipment can sort up to 350 t of rock/coal per hour. A wet process is used, ensuring that the burning material will be completely extinguished. The sorted materials can be used in construction and energy production; the rocks will also be used in modelling the terrain at the site.
This unique sorting operation will bring up to 100 jobs. 80 people are currently employed in the pilot phase; full-capacity operations will require 30 employees (plus dozens more at auxiliary operations and services).