Salt of the earth
For the past century, the Bernburg mine has produced salt in the heart of Germany. In fact, salt production can be traced back to the Middle Ages here. Today salt producer esco – european salt comany mines and processes rock salt over a 40-square-kilometre area with the help of Sandvik LH621 loaders. Mine production manager Hans-Martin Müller, who grew up in Dresden, took some time out of his busy schedule to talk to Minestories about the business of mining salt.
WHAT ARE YOUR MAIN DUTIES AS PRODUCTION MANAGER?
With my team, I have to ensure that the requested rock salt is produced on schedule and is the right quality, focusing on the existing geology, available machinery and personnel. But above all I have to continuously ensure the safety of our colleagues at work. This is essential.
HAVE YOU ALWAYS WORKED IN MINING?
After my studies in mining engineering at the Bergakademie Freiberg, I started working for K+S in May 2007 at one of its potash mines. In May 2008, I started working for esco as assistant underground mine manager. Since December 2014, I’ve been responsible for the underground production of esco’s salt mine in Bernburg.
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE YOU FACE AT YOUR JOB?
The “bringing together” of all the diverse aspects regarding deposit, machinery and seasonal production rates of rock salt. I must also do the same for all the different 70 miners.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH SANDVIK?
As we are constantly modernizing our machinery, we have integrated three Sandvik LH621 loaders over the past two years. During the process of planning to purchase the loaders, we became aware of Sandvik personnel’s outstanding knowledge of the special requirements for mining machines. Sandvik became a reliable partner in the supply of powerful and low-emission machinery.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB?
I really enjoy the everyday challenges and developments within the mine. I like the direct contact with the miners. Although they work separately, they form a strong team.