The Tagebau Garzweiler is a surface mine in the German state of North-Rhine Westphalia. The mine currently has a size of 48 km² and got its name from the village of Garzweiler which previously existed at this location.
The Tagebau Hambach is a large open-pit coal mine in Niederzier and Elsdorf, North Rhine–Westphalia, Germany. The mine is on the site of the ancient Hambach Forest which was purchased by RWE in 1978. They then cut most of it down and cleared it to mine. Only 10% of the forest area remains. RWE plans to clear half of the remaining area of the forest between around 2018 and 2020; this plan was met with massive protests in autumn 2018, and was temporarily stopped in October 2018 by the supreme administrative court of North Rhine–Westphalia. Begun in 1978, the mine's operation area currently has a size of 43,8 km², with the total area designated for mining having a size of 85 km².It is the deepest open pit mine with respect to sea level: the bottom of the pit with up to 500 metres from the surface is 299 metres below sea level, the deepest artificially made point in North Rhine–Westphalia.
It is already very impressive how this kind of coal extraction actually transforms the original landscape into a lunar landscape and how the heavy excavators in the darkness make big spaceships look like.
Hopefully in the near future we will find a way to do without this kind of landscape destruction.