On 30th May, 2016, the CIPSEM EM 39 participants led by Professor Dudel visited two sites in the town of Schlema. The group first toured the Wismut mine water treatment plant. At the plant, flooded mine water contaminated with heavy metals such as uranium, radium and arsenic is treated and then discharged into the Mulde River. Treatment was necessitated by prolonged mining period (1946-1990) that polluted both ground and surface water. The participants then toured by bus to the mine dumps/slug heaps. Remediation started in 1991 and was funded to the tune of more than 6 billion Euros by the German Federal government. Most of the remediated slug heaps are now covered with trees and grass. One of the remediated sites has been converted into a golf course.
The trip ended in style with a cultural tour and listening to organ music at the Sankt Annenkirche in Annaberg- Buchholz. A female church guide gave a brief history of the church built in 15th century initially Catholic but later changed to Protestant since the 16th century.
Report by Isaac Hokonya (Zimbabwe) and photos courtesy of Binod Gurung (Nepal) and Isaac Hokonya (Zimbabwe).