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Nuclear Industry
in Germany

Uranium Mining in West-Germany

In the western part of Germany, several uranium deposits were discovered and explored in the highlands, but no commercial uranium mining developed there. Test mines existed in Ellweiler (Rhineland-Palatinate), Baden-Baden/Gernsbach in the northern part of the Black Forest, Menzenschwand in the southern part of the Black Forest, Mähring and Poppenreuth in Northern Bavaria, and Großschloppen in the Fichtelgebirge (Ore Mountains). The only uranium mill was in operation from 1961 to 1989 at Ellweiler. It has produced a total of around 700 tonnes of uranium, mainly from Menzenschwand ores. After protests by environmental activists, it was shut down in 1989, for exceeding radiation release limits from the associated mill tailings dump. In Mähring, heap leaching was continued for some period of time after the shut down of the test mine. At the end of the eighties, all uranium exploration and mining activities in Western Germany were discontinued due to the low uranium market price.