Coal Mine Prosper Haniel III – Pneumatic Chainsaw
In December 2018 Prosper Haniel, the last active coal mine of the Ruhr area, was closed down. Before the end “Sounds of Changes”-project worker Konrad Gutkowski had a last chance to document its disappearing sounds.
The coal mine in Bottrop was founded in 1856. Regular mining began in 1863 with about 60.000 tons of coal per year. Until 2016 it reached a depth of 1240 metres and mined 1.8 Million tons of coal per year. During the “Wirtschaftswunder” in the 1950s up to 12.000 coal miners worked at Prosper Haniel. Structural change and the decline of coal mining began in the late 1960s. Due to high production costs in Germany coal has been increasingly imported from China, India and the USA. One after the other the coal mines in the Ruhr area were closed down.
In deep-schaft mining explosive gases are set free when the coal is extracted. Therefore, tools and machinery need special engines which do not emit sparks. The pneumatic chainsaw is one example. It is run by compressed air. Chainsaws are used to cut wooden pit props. However, today most pit props and shields are made of steel.
Sound: Jens Meißburger
Photo: Jochen Balke (Sirius Images)