The K+S KALI group is part of the international K+S AG concern (formerly Kali und Salz AG). The company runs a potash salt mine at Neuhof-Ellers in the Fliedetal valley, near Fulda, Germany, that has been in operation for over 100 years. The site employs some 720 people in mining and finishing processes. The products are used primarily for manufacturing fertilizer and also in other industrial manufacturing sectors.
All mines produce spoil waste. In this case, it is composed mainly of rock salt that has built up to create an imposingly tall heap directly adjacent to the mine. Nicknamed “Monte Kali” by the locals, it’s the highest elevation in the flat landscape and visible from far and wide.
The outdoor salt mound is sluiced by rain, creating some 700,000 cubic meters of saltwater per year. For many decades, the water was pumped off and stored in a deep plate-dolomite layer as a means of protecting the environment, particularly the groundwater. As the capacity of the rock was gradually exhausted, new disposal methods had to be found. The existing mining license included permission for the construction of a long-distance pipeline to discharge the saltwater into the Werra River. After reviewing alternative options and obtaining approval for the pipeline's routing, the project finally began in 2012.