1 The magazine for employees of the K+S Group ZKZ ENGLISH EDITION Innovation Boosts Mining Activities K+S will capitalize on the tremendous potential that digitalization presents by implementing IT technologies for processes and new business models. FAREWELL Retrospective with Dr. Ralf Bethke and Norbert Steiner ABROAD Expats on Assignment Around the Globe PINEAPPLES Good Growth on Sumatra Thanks to Potash
2 2 EDITORIAL SCOOP 1/2017 Digitalization is a challenge for our modern industrial society and, consequently, for K+S. But merely defining digitalization as automation and improved efficiency as a result of (extensive) data and networking would be insufficient the primary focus is business models, processes, and innovation. No matter how one feels about digitalization, it is simply inevitable, and K+S can capitalize on the opportunities digitalization presents by being an early adopter. That s why the cover story of this issue of scoop is dedicated to the topic of digitalization. The year 2016 is behind us, and it clearly left some nasty skid marks on the road. It also seems unlikely that we will escape 2017 completely unscathed. We were once again granted a long-term injection permit for the Werra plant on December 23, 2016, but the volume is extremely limited; unfortunately, we can already see that it will not always be sufficient for full and continuous production at all three sites. Things should improve significantly in 2018 with the now-famous KKF, however. Of course, there are other reasons for us to be optimistic about After five years of construction, including an unwanted extension as a result of the damage in July 2016, our new Legacy potash plant will begin producing potash in the second quarter of this year an important milestone in our company s history. This will sadly be my last editorial; on May 11, after nearly 24 years, my time at K+S will come to an end. I want to thank all of you for your partnership, constructive criticism, and helpful suggestions over the decades. We ve been through many highs and lows together, and we ve survived difficult times, but ultimately, we always made progress. I would like to wish all of my dear colleagues at the K+S Group around the world a successful future. Good luck, and all the best! Kind regards, Chairman of the Executive Board NEWS COOPERATION Technical Center for North and South America WINDSOR / The new Technical Center for North America launched operations in late January. A four-person team under the auspices of Windsor Salt in Ontario is now available to provide professional expertise and support to colleagues in Canada and the US. Pierre Beaulieu, an expert in electrical engineering, processes, and administration, serves as Senior Manager; he reports to Jim Vincent, Vice President of Operations at Morton Salt. Dr. Hagen Jeschke, Senior Expert for Mechanical Engineering, Dr. Stefan Höntzsch, Senior Expert for Geology, and mining engineer Jonathan Aubertin are also part of the team its members have several decades of combined experience in all areas of mining. Thanks to group-wide cooperation, the new facility can also draw on the expertise of the K+S AG Technical Center in Kassel for larger projects. DOWNTOWN CHICAGO Morton Salt, K+S Salt and K+S North America Move Into New Headquarters CHICAGO / Morton Salt, K+S Salt and K+S North America have moved into a new headquarters office! The move to the 52-story River Point office tower along the Chicago River supports the company s broader business and cultural transformation strategy. The new, leased office occupies two floors and offers 52,600 square feet of modern, open and high-tech space to help ignite a more energized, innovative and collaborative environment. It also brings together headquarters office employees with the Morton customer supply chain team who were based in the Chicago suburbs. In total, more than 400 employees now work in the new office. AWARD K+S Chile Receives Three Awards for Occupational Safety SANTIAGO / Our K+S colleagues in Chile won three awards for excellent working conditions. One was presented by the interregional organization Instituto de Seguridad de Trabajo Zonal Metropolitano (IST), and the two others by the regional institution Coresemin de Atacama in northern Chile. Congratulations! MANAGEMENT Departure of Dr. Ralph Jäger from K+S KALI GmbH KASSEL / Dr. Ralph Jäger has left K+S KALI GmbH. As Managing Director, he was responsible for the Finance & Controlling, Human Resources, Structure & Organization, and Compliance departments. Dr. Rainer Gerling and Alexa Hergenröther, who are handling Jäger s responsibilities, will be responsible for management until further notice. MEETING ACROSS SITES First esco Operations Meeting BORTH / The plant managers from all esco sites and the heads of production and technology above ground and below from the largest esco sites held their first operations meeting at the Borth plant in late During the two-day operations meeting, participants discussed vital future-oriented 30 PERCENT AL-BIARIQ New Holding in in Saudi Arabia YANBU / K+S acquired a 30 percent share in fertilizer producer Al-Biariq for Fertilizer Plant Co. Ltd of Saudi Arabia. With this acquisition, K+S hopes to benefit from the growth in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia, particularly in the area of fertigation (the use of fertilizers in irrigation systems). issues across locations for the first time since esco was founded in A central topic on the agenda was a workshop on occupational health and safety. The next operations meeting with the same participants will be held at the plant in Dombasle, France, in May Cover illustration: C3 Visual Lab Photos pages 2 3: Regina Recht, Matthew Gilson, K+S AG, Bernd Schoelzchen Illustrations: C3 Visual Lab
3 3 CONTENTS FOCUS 4 Sumatra Potash from Germany yields good pineapple and oil palm harvests WORKING 8 Digitalization K+S repositions itself to face the challenges of the future 14 Strong Woman Stephanie Shelstad holds her own as the only female welder at the Legacy construction site 16 Success Story Dr. Ralf Bethke and CEO Norbert Steiner take a positive look back as they prepare to leave the company 19 Emissions K+S has to invest approximately 250 million euros to meet stricter occupational exposure limits KNOWLEDGE 22 Expats What Javier Ramos, Karina Lakenbrink, and Jan Grommas have in common NEW FACILITY Behemoths Float Into the KKF Precision work on the KKF at the Werra potash plant: 17 large pieces of equipment such as heat exchangers and evaporators (the heaviest weighs 110 metric tons) were hoisted into the facility. K+S invested 180 million euros in the KKF at the Hattorf site; beginning in 2018, it will reduce the volume of saline wastewater generated by the plant to 5.5 million cubic meters per year (down by 1.5 million cubic meters). It also treats produced water in a way that allows additional usable materials to be extracted. GERMANY Philippsthal 25 Listening Here s what s been set in motion since the 2015 employee survey PEOPLE 26 Iceman KSPC employee Brock Montgomery plays one of Canada s favourite sports 27 Lifesaver Marco Heil of Neuhof-Ellers saved the life of a woman with leukemia by donating stem cells 28 Hometown Jorge Lage works at Salina Diamante Branco and doesn t miss the rest of the wide world one bit 32 Fun Page
4 4 SUMATRA FOCUS SCOOP 1/2017 Hard work in sweltering heat: The palm oil harvest requires serious brawn. BY THOMAS BRANDL With two short, powerful swipes of his sickle, Sukur cuts free the seed pod hanging six meters above him; another shake of the lower end of the stem, and the 25-kilogram seed pod plops down onto the ground. This is what the palm oil harvest on a plantation in Perawang on the Indonesian island of Sumatra looks like. There are 140 palms on one hectare of land at this relatively new, carefully tended site. The 340-hectare plantation produces between 600 and 700 metric tons of this oleaginous fruit every month, aided by potash and magnesium fertilizers from K+S. In Southeast Asia s tropical climate, the fruit can be harvested all year round. While plantation workers use pointed iron rods to pick the seed pods and then manually load them onto truck beds, Deri Hasta and Mahes from fertilizer distributor Meroke prepare the sacks of grain potash and kieserite from Germany. A cup is used to measure the amount of fertilizer that will be applied to each palm by hand. The poor soil in Sumatra needs a lot of Potash and Magnesium for Plentiful Harvests Southeast Asia is an important market for fertilizers from K+S. The Indonesian island of Sumatra is home to millions of hectares of oil palms, as well as the world s largest pineapple plantation. A scoop report from this tropical island near the Equator.
5 FOCUS SUMATRA 5 Perawang INDONESIA Newly planted field in Teluk Kuantan on Sumatra: K+S partner Meroke painstakingly ensures that its production is sustainable. Giving Up Palm Oil Is Not a Solution The global demand for palm oil is constantly growing. However, its cultivation is controversial, as tropical rainforests are often cleared to make way for palm oil plantations. Palm oil plantations now cover 18 million hectares of land around the world ten times the area they covered in 1985, and about half the size of Germany. 87 percent of the soughtafter oil comes from Malaysia and Indonesia alone; it is used in the production of food products, cosmetics, detergents, and even biodiesel. The highly productive oil palm is under fire due to the threat its cultivation poses to the rainforests. But giving up palm oil would not solve the problem either, according to a recent study by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Replacing 60 million metric tons of palm oil with soy, for instance, would require drastically higher land use around the world and would cause a spike in greenhouse gas emissions. Instead, the solution is to make palm oil production more sustainable and change our consumption habits. A generous dash of kieserite is vital for the healthy growth of oil palms. Photos: Jonathan Wijaya (3), Shutterstock Illustration: C3 Visual Lab nutrients: It has to be fertilized with phosphorous, potash, magnesium, and boron four times a year. The boron comes from Turkey, and the phosphorous from Egypt. After the harvest, trucks carry the reddish-yellow fruits to the oil mill. nesium sulfate (SMS). K+S has been producing this product in Huludao, China, since the beginning of Between 700,000 and one million metric tons of potash and magnesium fertilizer are shipped via Singapore and Malaysia s Port Klang every year. The Southeast Asian hub supplies Malaysia and Indonesia as well as countries like Thailand, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji. Smaller amounts of industrial potash are used in crude oil drilling and galvanization. Productivity Cannot Be Beat The focus is squarely on the oil palm in Indonesia. Two-thirds of the country s plantations are located on the island of Sumatra; this island alone is larger than all of Germany. Here and in Borneo, enormous swathes of secondary rainforest have been felled to make way for new plantations. The original old-growth forest had 22 PERCENT is how much oil is in these palm fruits. The oil palm surpasses all other plants in terms of productivity. It originally comes from Africa. Rising Kieserite Consumption We need a lot more kieserite from you, Rolf! This request from Meroke representative Catur Dion Mirzada to Dr. Rolf Härdter, Managing Director of Singapore-based K+S Asia Pacific since 2009, is quite clear and demonstrates two things. K+S is building on a strong network of long-standing, trusting customer relationships in Southeast Asia, and yet, as a result of production issues in Germany, it is not fully capable of meeting all of those customers needs. Härdter has no choice but to try to keep his friend and reliable customer happy with the prospect of his first shipment of synthetic magalready fallen victim to the tropical wood and cellulose industry. We absolutely do not support the felling of these natural forests, says Härdter, who holds a doctorate in Agronomy, marveling at the new facilities in Teluk Kuantan. Their carbon footprint is even better than that of a secondary jungle. Amidst the green sea of palms, Meroke constructed a little village of modern townhouses for its plantation workers. They are home to about 20 families with children. Dr. Härdter doesn t see the oil palm boom ending Anytime soon. The plant s productivity cannot be beat, and the world s population is expected to grow to up to ten billion people by An oil palm produces its first yield within just two years; after that, it reliably produces ten to twelve seed pods per year for 25 to 30 years given the right fertilizer. Per hectare, that means a yield of approximately five metric tons of plant oil; coconut, soy, sunflower, and rapeseed just cannot compete. CONTINUED ON PAGE 6»
6 6 SUMATRA FOCUS SCOOP 1/2017 Spiny fruits: Field workers always wear heavy protective clothes, despite the heat. Gunungsugih INDONESIA Man and machine teams of 40 workers comb the pineapple plantation
7 Quiz FOCUS SUMATRA 7 This time, we re giving away a sleek pineapple slicer made of Cromargan stainless steel, including a porcelain bowl for serving the fresh tropical fruit. Quiz question: How many metric tons of pineapple per hectare does GGP harvest annually? Please send your answer to the following address by July 1, 2017: Scoop Editorial Office K+S Aktiengesellschaft Bertha-von-Suttner-Strasse Kassel, Germany Prefer to send it by ? Women are largely responsible for preparing pineapple for canning at GGP.» Photos: Jonathan Wijaya (4), Shutterstock Illustration: C3 Visual Lab Pineapple for the Whole World Let s move on: 700 kilometers to the southeast, near the town of Gunung Sugih. It is the largest pineapple plantation in the world 30,000 hectares, pineapple as far as the eye can see, all the way to the Suk Mahilang mountains on the horizon. This is the home of Great Giant Pineapple. 4,000 salaried employees work primarily in the processing factory, while 10,000 additional day laborers work out in the field. GGP supplies the entire world with canned pineapple; hundreds of pallets are stacked in its enormous warehouse, labeled and ready to be shipped out to Lidl, Aldi, Tesco, Wal-Mart, and Dole. Great Giant Pineapple has been buying its potash and magnesium fertilizer from K+S for 25 years a strong partnership. Large teams of workers comb the fields for ripe fruits outside under the scorching Sumatran sun. Razvan, swaddled in heavy clothing to protect himself from the sun and the spiky plants, pulls the first pineapple from the plant with a healthy yank. He cuts the crown off and tosses the fruit onto the conveyor belt to the harvester: Crap! I just pricked myself again! Pineapples are spiny; they re part of the bromeliad family of plants. A group of 40 workers is assigned to each harvester. From the bunker to the harvester, the fruits are brought directly to the trucks and immediately on to the factory, Sedit which aut enditatur, can pro-earcipcess 1,800 metric tons per day. inim GPP ilisit can exreheolupta produce vel id quas tionet more than half a million metric maximol tons of uptur? pineapple in a good year with sufficient rainfall. Incredible! Lots of Manual Labor Still Required The soil in southern Sumatra is also very low in nutrients, so the farmers need fertilizers from Germany and other parts of the world. Every year, we purchase between 11,000 and 12,000 metric tons from K+S, mainly kieserite, Epso, Hortisul, SOP, and MOP. We d love to buy even more, especially Epso, says Plantation Manager Fauzan. Fertilization and crop protection is handled by machines, while harvesting and planting new pineapple slips still mainly requires manual labor. GGP agronomists calculate approximately 1,400 kilos of fertilizer for a hectare of pineapple. And speaking of manual labor: This morning, Sumi and her two male colleagues Dhian and Manik are planting new crops within sight of the harvesting team. The two men carry the slips on a sort of stretcher to the field, where they unload them. Sumi sets them into the prepared holes with a practiced hand constantly bending over is hard on her back. After a day like this, you really feel it in your bones, explains the young woman. It takes twelve to 15 months before a pineapple plant We d especially love to buy more Epso this is currently our last sack. Plantation Manager Fauzan 15 MONTHS is how long it usually takes for a pineapple plant to bear its first fruit. After the second harvest, the plant is generally replaced with a new one. bears its first fruit. After the second fruit, the plant gets pulled out and replaced with a new one. Pineapples are harvested year round; the yield generally averages around 60 metric tons per hectare. To produce this harvest, 55,000 to 70,000 plants have to pump all their vitality into the fruit. Sumatra is a land of contrasts. While out in the fields, many small farmers toil away on their land behind plows strapped to oxen, the GGP factory uses cutting-edge technology. The fruit that arrives here is automatically sorted according to size, then it is washed and peeled. This is the point where manual labor comes back into play. The factory has 26 production lines; at each of these, 45 women cut the fruit into slices and remove any remaining eyes. It s hot, loud, and pretty sticky. All of the fruit produced by GGP is currently packaged in cans. We hope to sell more fresh fruit in the future, however, explains Plantation Manager Fauzan. We can earn more from that. Fresh pineapple generally brings in about one euro per kilo; canned pineapple is only worth around half of that. But dealing in fresh fruit requires a functional cold chain across multiple continents. Great Giant Pineapple currently exports 40 percent of its fruit to Europe and another 40 percent to the US. Incidentally, Thailand is the global leader in pineapple production, followed by the Philippines, Indonesia, South Africa, Ghana, Costa Rica and Honduras. At GGP, they are particularly proud of the fact that their enormous, ISO-certified facility which also produces bananas, mangoes, papayas, oranges, dragon fruit, and cassava takes an environmentally friendly approach. As part of a recycling management program, all of the plantation s plant-based waste is either fed to the company s 25,000 Brahman Cross cattle or composted; the composting plant is within view of the factory. The company even owns 400 dairy cattle. A green (r)evolution is Great Giant Pineapple s claim and natural mineral fertilizers from K+S are a part of it.
8 8 DIGITALIZATION WORKING Digital Future Vs. Wasted Paper Digitalization is the focus in many different areas within the K+S Group. Processes and structures are being developed internally to enable the Business Units to become more competitive and innovative for their customers. BY CLAAS MICHAELIS Thanks to the Mining Cockpit, a few clicks will soon be all it takes for foremen, mine surveyors, or workshop managers to obtain exactly the information that matters to them. Felix Keuler works as a project manager with Martin Pflüger of K+S IT to consolidate the compartmentalized database for the operation of a mine into a unified whole. The Mining Cockpit will act as a centralized control element, says Keuler, a mining engineer. The tool will process all the important data for planning personnel, machines, and extraction at mining sites. This frees up more time for foremen to spend on their actual work, says Keuler, who came to K+S after earning a mining degree and is currently studying computer science. Foremen are getting increasingly caught up in office work, which frequently frustrates their colleagues out at the machines on site. The Mining Cockpit will provide foremen with all the data they need to work better on site, without having to type up their notes later on. Although computers and machines will play a greater role in future mining activities, they will never replace humans; Keuler is sure of this. We always focus on people in all that we do, says Claudia Haney. She is in charge of the Digital Transformation program at K+S, which so far consists of 14 individual projects in the potash department. We don t want to do away with our employees knowledge and expertise. We want to enable employees to make crucial decisions better and faster than before. As a result, the Mining Cockpit is also designed to increase productivity. I am convinced that we ll always have a need for human labor underground, says Mark Roberts, a Board Member from Business Unit Salt. But in the future, work down in the mines might be controlled from aboveground to a greater extent than it is now. Fellow Board Member Dr. Otto Lose (of BU Potash) sees digitization as an opportunity, not a risk. It is already becoming more difficult to find junior employees interested in working underground. Digitalization helps here, as it allows operations to continue over the long term with fewer people. Young people in particular tend to take digital applications for granted in their personal lives, and they prefer employers who are able to offer them access to digital applications in the workplace. That s why we need to take advantage of the opportunities offered by digitalization to remain financially successful and an attractive employer, says Alexa Hergenröther, Managing Director of K+S KALI GmbH. Digitalization can only succeed underground if the necessary infrastructure has been created beforehand. One of the biggest challenges will therefore be the construction of underground wireless networks, which will involve laying a total of 150 kilometers of fiber optic cables in the K+S KALI GmbH mines. Employees working in the mines will then obtain access to the network via 2,500 access points, mainly located at Mining Cockpit The Mining Cockpit is an SAPbased IT tool that facilitates digitalized master data management and shift allocation underground. The German pilot project is located at Neuhof-Ellers, where the new software is being tested. The tool will be introduced at all Kali locations once it passes muster. The Mining Cockpit runs on both PCs and mobile devices (tablets). Graphic: C3 Visual Lab
9 WORKING 9 DIGITALIZATION tipping points and in workshops, so that underground operations can be organized even more efficiently with the help of IT solutions such as the Mining Cockpit. Claudia Haney sums up the project as follows: We want to make better use of the data we already have, while also recording additional data. This will bring an end to employees having to write everything down on notepads not at all of the sites, but at many of them. The Sigmundshall potash plant already serves as an example of the future of mobile data processing. The pilot project for mobile maintenance has been running here since the summer of It is the first of many planned mobile applications. In the near future, underground facilities and aboveground factories alike will be equipped with a so-called Data Matrix Code. Scanning the code with a handheld tablet enables onsite maintenance staff to obtain an overview, for example, of master data or unresolved notifications via the app. Order processing, data editing, measurement document creation, and material searches can all be conducted online on the machine. Con- necting a mobile app to existing maintenance processes saves a lot of time: It eliminates paths and saves employees from having to take notes twice (first on paper, then in the system). The goal is to establish the tablet as a tool for everyday tasks, says Project Leader Patrick Porsch. Because the information is more up to date, but especially because there is more of it, employees will be able to rectify faults faster, even if they can t avoid them altogether. More precise data on exploiting the deposits will also be pooled in the Mining Cockpit as seen in the Material Optimization project, which has been running at the Zielitz potash plant since This project revolves around further optimizing the use of deposits with the help of 3D geological models. Additional drilling devices and special radar probes take technical measurements of the deposits prior to mining activities in order to provide more information about the geological structure and its boundaries. In the future, an IT solution will also help us evaluate this comprehensive data more quickly and define the best way» We want to make better use of the data we already have, while also recording additional data. «to go about the extraction and gallery work, CONTINUED ON PAGE 10»
10 10 DIGITALIZATION WORKING Mobile maintenance Test users at the pilot location in the Sigmundshall potash plant use tablets in the productive environment of the SAP maintenance module. In the future, many Kali employees who work in several divisions will carry tablets equipped with the mobile maintenance app. Further applications are already being planned..»» The company that provides solutions for our customers problems will win out and that s who we want to be. «explains Project Leader Katja Voigt. Big data is key here; the 3D geological models involve massive volumes of data. These tools can help us optimally design the warehouse flow and galleries, precisely follow the potash seam during excavation, and make optimal use of the deposits, says Katja Voigt. This also benefits the environment, as relying on more precise predictions will cause significantly less rock salt (which is an undesirable resource in potash operations) to be excavated; this unwanted material would otherwise end up on the tailings pile aboveground. It is crucial that we have a precise understanding of the underground processes, so that we can develop a sustainable, uniform IT solution, says Martin Pflüger in praising the close cooperation with Felix Keuler and Silvio Lotz, Heads of Underground Production at the Neuhof-Ellers plant, where the Mining Cockpit will eventually be tested for everyday suitability. To get an idea of how complex underground planning actually is, one need only consider that there are 1,000 mobile machines to be managed, as well as additional vehicles for inspections. The software we developed makes us trailblazers, says Keuler. The project also involves employees from other Kali locations and colleagues from Business Unit Salt. We collaborate on a regular basis at various levels and try to unlock synergies by implementing joint projects, says Serak Rezane, Senior Director Information Technology at Morton Salt. Morton Salt is currently pursuing a holistic digitalization strategy, although targeted investments have already been made in market-ready products and services. To reduce costs and become more effective, Morton Salt has broken new ground in optimizing its logistics. This is important because logistics costs are high in North America due to longer distances between locations and carriers trucks may return to their home base empty after delivering products to customers. As a result, Morton recently began using a service provider platform that applies new technologies to optimize transportation planning and execution of more than 100 major shippers with a total logistics spend of six billion US dollars. By participating with other shippers in a larger network, we benefit from optimized freight, improve sustainability by filling up more trucks across the combined network, and reduce costs, says Betsey Nohe, Vice President Supply Chain at Morton Salt. But the changes to the supply chain do not stop here. With the help of another partner, Morton Salt has evaluated historical and planned commodity flows and used state-of-the-art modeling techniques to determine the best locations for our warehouse network. Thanks to the optimized storage network, truckstravel approximately 400,000 fewer miles (650,000 kilometers) each year. According to Dr. Berthold Kröger, Head of Corporate IT at the K+S Group, the IT department s task is to work with the Business Units to create suitable structures and IT solutions and to make the required infrastructure available. Above all, the ability to network current information and evaluate it quickly using modern IT systems puts us in a position to generate added value that every area in the Group can benefit from, regardless of the Business Unit. A lot of this is still theory, but available data is already being used more effectively at various places in the K+S Group thanks to digitalization. Another example can be found at the K+S Windsor Salt location in Pugwash, Canada, where the use of drones now provides employees with much more precise knowledge of the location s backfilled inventory. It used to take a lot of effort to determine how many tons of material were stored in the piles. Today, drones circle the mounds of salt, measure them, and generate a 3D model that can be used to determine quantities more precisely for inventory Photo: K+S AG Graphic: C3 Visual Lab
11 WORKING 11 DIGITALIZATION Innovation and digitalization need free space Innovation and digitization have an inward and outward dimension: internally, we should be able to help us to implement our business processes as best as possible. Our future competition will come not only from our own industry, but also from players outside our sector, says Jan Wegner, Head of Corporate Development, K+S Aktiengesellschaft. The main question here is who will control access to the customers. In both cases, we must network closely at K+S across organizations and learn from each other. K+S needs to develop its own approach to innovation and digitalization, one that exploits the strong position we have at present to position our business for future success. To achieve this, we have talked and worked together with other, similar companies to determine the best way to accomplish the mission: We have to create the free spaces, allow misses, try new things and do not keep up with the wrong ideas for a long time. Important is a high throughput of ideas. Joint ventures with other companies or institutions are crucial, because new business models will require a broad range of skills and experience. Strategic venture capital will serve as a tool for us for promoting highly promising business ideas. The focus here is on cooperation with startups and access to new ideas. Finally, strong engagement on the part of top management is essential to the long-term success of innovation and digitalization initiatives. management. According to Andrew Patton, Director of Operations Technical Support at Morton Salt, the pilot project in Pugwash was so successful that drones will now be used at additional locations. These flying tools could play just as important a role for potash in the future. Tests conducted by K+S KALI GmbH and the Institute of Applied Plant Nutrition (IAPN), a research institute at the University of Göttingen, used drones with photo sensors to investigate stress conditions in crop plants. This allowed researchers to draw conclusions in real time about the plants nutritional conditions and fertilizer requirements. We can create a business model based on drone technology, because this kind of analysis allows us to offer our customers in the agricultural sector significant added 150 KILOMETERS of fiber optic cables will be laid in the K+S KALI GmbH mines in total to enable Internet access for operations-oriented applications. value, while also enabling us to draw closer to the consumers of our products, explains Alexa Hergenröther. The activities in both Business Units are driven by two goals: to fully meet demand and to provide customers with added value they are willing to pay for. The market and the customers are transforming, says Jan Wegner, Head of Corporate Development at K+S Aktien gesellschaft. Digitalization is providing us with the tools we need to solve problems differently from how we did in the past. The areas in which digitalization fuels innovations are crucial. We cannot stand by and look on as newly created commercial platforms such as Amazon drive a wedge between us and our customers, says Hergenröther. The company that provides solutions for our custom- Raw material optimization A user-friendly system based on an innovative big data approach will help users determine optimal layouts for tracks and mining. A CAD software interface and a 3D model of the Zielitz pilot plant will be developed, with ENERCAST serving as a partner in this raw material optimization project. CONTINUED ON PAGE 12» The next step is to put these points into action. This is already working together with high pressure.
12 12 DIGITALIZATION WORKING Drones measure inventory Current inventory systems for stockpile surveys are challenging in many respects. Accessibility, safety, costs and schedules, all make it difficult to ensure an accurate and timely assessment. At a successful pilot in Pugwash drone technology delivered a safe lower cost solution head on while delivering higher accuracy by using 3D image technology. Project Hot Wheels In 2017, Morton Salt will begin outsourcing its transportation planning and execution using a managed services model. The chosen vendor will help coordinate with other shippers to reduce the amount of deadhead miles, in which an empty truck is on the road. The freight could be a backhaul for another shipper allowing both companies to benefit financially and while reducing miles driven, fuel usage, and greenhouse gas emissions. Digitalization drives Industrie 4.0 Companies are developing strategies worldwide to reshape business process as well as the products and services they offer customers. In Industrie 4.0, smart factories represent the fourth industrial revolution, following steam engines, assembly lines, and electronics and IT. Production intermeshes with cutting-edge information and communication technology, while rapidly increasing digitalization serves as the driving force. The agricultural sector presents a great deal of potential as one of the largest customer segments of K+S. Investments in agricultural technology have increased worldwide from 0.5 billion USD in 2012 to approximately 3.2 billion USD in 2016, with a steadily increasing number of startups. According to the management consulting firm McKinsey, digital offers in the future are likely to combine data, analysis, hardware, and software as a means of offering customers true added value. At the same time, trends such as vertical farming, biotechnology, and genetically modified organisms are expected to become important agricultural trends. Graphic: C3 Visual Lab
13 WORKING 13 DIGITALIZATION» ers problems will win out and that s who we want to be. New technologies aren t always required, as the example of de-icing salt shows: esco subsidiary DSD has operated a Web store optimized for smartphones and tablets since November 2016, and the store is now scheduled for rollout in the US. Board Member Mark Roberts thinks it s possible to integrate additional applications with added value, such as weather information or communication options for drivers of winter service vehicles. Digitalization is often complex, says Mark Roberts. I advocate taking a grounded approach to develop highly practical solutions based on day-to-day business. He wants to collect specific ideas from Business Unit Salt and implement the first of these by the end of 2017: We are the market leader, and we need to stay that way to further strengthen our brands. Wegner emphasizes that it is not the responsibility of any one single unit to take advantage of technological possibilities: Digitalization affects all of us. Everyone with a good idea for an innovation should have access to the opportunities they need to pursue their idea further. This is why K+S KALI GmbH established the so-called Life Science Innovation Lab, whose mission is to search for suitable innovations. The search is not always for digital ideas; the focus will also be on new technologies and products. Management is also counting on input from the K+S team. Not every idea will succeed, says Alexa Hergenröther. But we will have accomplished a lot if one idea crystallizes out of 100 initial phases and that idea ultimately results in a sound new business model. Comparable structures for identifying interdepartmental ideas are envisaged for Business Unit Salt and the K+S Group. But Jan Wegner emphasizes that digitalization is not limited to streamlining or automating processes: We need to find out how digitalization can help us develop new business models and make them financially viable in the long term.» We need to find out how digitalization can help us develop new business models and make them financially viable in the long term. Innovation and digitalization require a broad range of skills and approaches in order to succeed. These skills cannot be supplied solely by individuals, but by the interplay of different people with different backgrounds and functions who are organized into teams around a central focal point. Innovation and digitalization are not specific to a single location; every site has to get involved. Digitalization Decrease costs / Increase efficiency of existing processes Leverage digitalization for innovation Innovation Create value through development and introduction of new products, services or processes
14 14 WORKING PHOTO REPORT SCOOP 1/2017 5:45 a.m. Check-in at the Legacy entrance gate: Every morning, Stephanie takes the shuttle bus from Moose Jaw, where she has lived since joining the company in :55 a.m. Changing for a long day of work on the Saskatchewan prairie. In winter, outdoor temperatures often fall below -30 degrees Celsius and then there s that bitter northern wind... 6:05 a.m. The maintenance team s daily morning briefing always starts with a safety moment. 2:00 p.m. Working outdoors in the drilling field at well pad 8: Stephanie Shelstad takes measurements for a coupler between two pipes coming up from below ground that she has to weld together. 12:30 p.m. Colleagues at Legacy usually eat together, enjoying boxed lunches they bring from home and heat up in the microwave. A day with... Stephanie Shelstad. The Saskatchewan native has worked as a welder at the Legacy Project mine site since March She is a valued member of the maintenance team. 4:40 p.m. German mines have a board with metal tags to indicate each worker s current location; at Legacy, a logbox keeps precise track of who is currently where and when they ll be back.
15 WORKING 15 PHOTO REPORT 10:00 a.m. Spot-welding pipes and girders for transporting caustic potash solution up from the depths to the crystallizers and evaporators. 3:30 p.m. Back to the (warm) maintenance building. The cold weather doesn t bother me, she says. I was born in Saskatchewan. One thing she loves about her job is that it s relatively clean she used to work in a coal mine. 6:00 p.m. Check-out at the end of the work day: Steph, as everyone calls her, will get a ride home from a colleague today. Fotos: XX Grafik: XXX Photos: Greg Huszar
16 16 WORKING INTERVIEW SCOOP 1/2017 In General, K+S Has Always Been Moving Forward Potash fusion, IPO, acquisition of Frisia, founding of esco, globalization of the business with SPL and Morton, two-pillar strategy, Black Tuesday, successful implementation of Legacy Chairman of the K+S Executive Board Norbert Steiner and Supervisory Board Chair Dr. Ralf Bethke reflect on turbulent times. The Annual General Meeting will herald the end of an era on May 10. Two very different personalities have left their mark on K+S and its business operations for 27 and 24 years, respectively. They take stock of that time here in the Scoop interview. K+S recently saw some very turbulent times. Do you think things will settle down in the next few years? Where is K+S now? STEINER: We cannot know if things will settle down. We haven t really had a year when things were quiet. Still, we have always managed to overcome obstacles some of them rather high that were in our way. It s one reason for our optimism. DR. BETHKE: I m sure that challenges will remain. The path down which K+S travels is not an easy one. However, our company has always had high and low times for as long as I can remember. My outlook for the future is positive, because we are well positioned. have also seen the acquisition of foreign subsidiaries and production sites in Europe and North and South America. Why was this development the right one? STEINER: When BASF pulled out, K+S was suddenly confronted with freedom in terms of its business decision-making, and we had to see where the journey would take us. We bridged the gap with our fertilizer business by acquiring Compo and fertiva. I can say the same for salt when we took over Frisia Zout in the Netherlands in 2000 and co-founded esco together with Solvay in We were also looking for new potash deposits back then, traveling around Russia, for example. We were always on the lookout for how we could bring the company forward. The huge leap forward was made when we started construction of our new plant, Legacy, in Canada in DR. BETHKE: Given the cost trends and the fact that the deposits in Germany are finite, the only option was to expand the company abroad. You cannot forget that we were absorbing losses through the merger of potash producers until 1997, because that was a huge task. Afterward we focused on consistently expanding our business and working toward internationalization. Our works council and the Industrial Mining, Chemistry, and Energy Union (IG BCE) always saw eyeto-eye in this regard. Mr. Steiner, it was courageous of the Executive Board and Supervisory Board to build the Legacy plant in the middle of the Canadian prairie. What s going through your mind now that the first tonne of potash will leave the new plant in Saskatchewan in a few weeks? Every single day that I worked for this company represented a joyous moment for me. You mean the potash producer merger in , the hunger strike at the Bischofferode mine, the attempt to spin-off K+S s majority share of PCS in , the gradual withdrawal of our parent company BASF, the acquisition of Compo/ fertiva in , and so on. DR. BETHKE: Exactly. We ve regularly faced challenges. I believe the greatest one was the merger of potash producers back in , because the company wasn t set up identically between the East and West. It has only strengthened our unification throughout all these years. We have often taken two steps forward, only to fall back one step, but the general direction has always been forward. DR. RALF BETHKE 27 years at K+S Dr. Bethke was born in Königsberg, Germany, and first served as a member of the K+S Executive Board. From , he was Chairman of the Executive Board, then Supervisory Board Chair. Before that, he was at BASF and Chemag AG in Frankfurt am Main. He holds a graduate degree in Business Administration and a doctorate in Economics. K+S started off as a German company and has essentially transformed into an international player during your time working for the company. We
17 WORKING INTERVIEW 17 STEINER: You re right, deciding in favor of the Legacy Project was not an easy task and it was certainly courageous in terms of financing. It was also not easy to overcome the changing market conditions, either. Take, for example, Black Tuesday, Uralkali s exit from the joint sales organization with Belaruskali in But we managed nonetheless. Our sites in Germany wouldn t have a fallback solution if it weren t for the Legacy Project. Their future would look far gloomier without it. It s unfortunate that the damage last summer caused a delay. But once the Legacy plant is up and running, we can all be happy. DR. BETHKE: The Legacy Project means we remain a serious competitor in the global market for the long term. Legacy facilitates our acceptance as a reliable supplier of high-quality products with many specialties, with production sites on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. There is not another potash producer in the world capable of offering the range we do: from MOP to fertilizers containing magnesium and sulfate. STEINER: And we re continuing on our path to internationalization. Our recent acquisitions in China and Saudi Arabia testify to that. Nevertheless, we want to continue to maintain our sites in Germany as best as we can until But to do so, we need to expand abroad. It s not meant as competition. Our differences have helped the company move forward for a long time. It was almost like yin and yang. NORBERT STEINER 24 years at K+S Mr. Steiner was born in Siegen, Germany, and is a lawyer by training. After completing his legal traineeship in the district of the Higher Regional Court of Karlsruhe, he worked at BASF AG from When he first joined K+S, he headed up the Legal, Tax, and Insurance department. In May 2000, he joined the K+S Executive Board, and was named Chairman of the Executive Board on July 1, Let s switch gears. You ve been with K+S for 27 years. And Mr. Steiner, 24 years. It seems that acceptance for extracting raw materials and industrial production has been dwindling in Germany during this period. DR. BETHKE: It makes me sad to see how much mistrust some of our adversaries who restrict their arguments to ideologies show us. We are definitely not the huge producers of environmental and water pollution that they often make us out to be. It would be nice to receive a little more credit. STEINER: We ve always found ways to keep up production without taking hard hits, despite the criticism. There aren t many companies that earmark nearly 800 million within a few years for environmental protection. We re heading into less turbulent waters with the kainite crystallization and flotation plant, which will cost nearly 180 million, starting in And we re pleased that we could win over more politicians who don t want to leave the Werra plant and the people there hanging. You certainly didn t find the searches conducted at K+S and in private homes in September 2015 a laughing matter. One year after those took place, the Meiningen Regional Court dismissed the petition that had been filed by the Public Prosecution Office to initiate criminal proceedings after careful examination. Now the Higher Regional Court in Jena must issue a ruling on the complaint. DR. BETHKE: I never would have thought that we would end up being accused of criminal misconduct. I m not aware of any wrongdoings. It s people opposing our company and taking it out through criminal justice. That s going too far. STEINER: The criminal charges being brought against us are entirely unsubstantiated. There was and is nothing to it. The Meiningen Regional Court ruled that way, and we are hopeful that the Higher Regional Court in Jena will see it that way, too. What has been the best moment for each of you, and what has been the worst moment during your time working at K+S? DR. BETHKE: Every single day that I have worked for this company has represented a joyous moment for me. My best moment at K+S was when the merger of the potash producers came to fruition bringing together East and West within one company. Even though people try to bring up the hunger strike in Bischofferode in this context, we still created more jobs than we had even promised. The loss of our Potacan investment company in New Brunswick, Canada, back in 1997 had to have been my most bitter moment during my time with K+S. We lost over one million metric tonnes of annual production at a potash plant in just one night after water penetrated the mine. STEINER: I also believe that the merger of the potash producers was the first of my best moments at K+S. It was a success after a difficult beginning, and it later became the starting point for our development, including the Legacy Project. We can both look back with satisfaction and know we were a part of it. Those were great experiences! And low moments? I would tend to call those challenges instead. We always managed to turn them around and make something good of it. For example, we showed our competitions that you can t just shove us to one side after Black Tuesday in DR. BETHKE: The same holds true for the salt segment. I m genuinely impressed with the progress that s been made at Morton Salt regarding both costs and market developments in recent years. It used to be that potash was our breadwinner. Now we have salt, a very profitable second pillar for the future! Fotos: Harry Soremski Mr. Steiner, our competitor PCS made a takeover attempt a little under two years after Black Tuesday, which happened back on July 30, Why did the two of you fight so passionately to keep K+S independent during that time? CONTINUED ON PAGE 18»
18 18 WORKING INTERVIEW SCOOP 1/2017» We also consider our employees and our sites to be stakeholders of the company. Norbert Steiner STEINER: I want to make one thing clear as far as that s concerned: We did not fight for keeping K+S independent, but rather for our stakeholders values. In addition to the shareholders, we also consider our employees and sites to be stakeholders of the company. We didn t consider the offer made by PCS to be adequate. Of course, it helped that we had public backing. We just did our job in the end. DR. BETHKE: If PCS had persevered and consolidated the global market as it had been planning to do, it would have certainly been by standing on the backs of our employees. As Supervisory Board Chair, I have a duty to them and to the shareholders. There was also a tremendous concern that PCS would have meant enormous changes. The human chain was a show of great solidarity from the entire company workforce with our colleagues at the plant in Werra on September 8, Was it an impressive act to see more than 12,000 people participate? STEINER: It primarily impressed politicians and showed them that so many people were taking jobs and the region very seriously. It was important that the level of aggression didn t escalate with the human chain because it demonstrated to politicians how it could be handled in a friendly manner. It definitely helped shape political opinion in favor of the injection permit that things didn t escalate. Mr. Steiner, the planned injection permit for Werra came right before the holiday season in It wasn t as far-reaching, but it was still a permit valid until How well can you live with it? STEINER: You have to be happy with it. The whole process wasn t easy for the authorities either. Yes, the permit is for less than we applied for. We can already see it won t be easy in But it should be smoother sailing when we commission the kainite crystallization and flotation plant in The mood among the workforce is not the best. The employee survey conducted in the fall of 2015 indicated dissatisfaction, and there is much criticism being expressed on the Gute Frage! forum due to a lack of communication in the company. STEINER: The range of options available for employees to access information is very wide, and it s been around for a while. Obviously, there is always more that you can do. And we have developed many different ideas based on the I can easily picture K+S holding our own in the sea of global competition in the future. Dr. Ralf Bethke results of the employee survey. Our new Gute Frage! employee forum serves as a means for employees to express themselves. However, the veil of anonymity can also go too far. In the end, you need to start by dissecting the why behind the bad mood. We had to pull in the reins in the aftermath of Black Tuesday in 2013 in order to stabilize the company. We also implemented restructuring measures, which didn t suit everyone. All in all, I believe the employees really did a great job and pulled their own in all of the programs, like Fit for the Future. We ve even managed to surpass our goals. Is it possible that in our turbulent years, we ve lost some of the spirit that has always characterized K+S? Values like trust, mutual respect, and the promise to support each other no matter what? DR. BETHKE: I don t think the Supervisory Board feels that s the case. The Executive Board had to modify some focal points differently under difficult market conditions. Mr. Steiner was under great pressure to continually locate and leverage political opportunities. The Executive Board will also do its part regarding the negative development for the overall annual result in STEINER: These surveys never investigate reasons behind sentiments, unfortunately. I m still convinced that people still stick closely together on the ground. It s a matter of mining mentality it doesn t make a difference if you re in Werra, in Neuhof, Chile, the US, or Legacy. By the way, it s like that on the Executive Board, as well. In what kinds of different ways did the two of you cooperate all these years? What do you appreciate about one another? 800 MILLION is the amount that K+S invested in environmental protection. DR. BETHKE: If you were to overlay our two personality profiles, I doubt that they would line up perfectly. I have always been strongly market-oriented. Meanwhile, Mr. Steiner often asked me to slow down if I pressed on too quickly or went too far. I think that we have actually been excellent complements and that we get along well. It was definitely great working together with Mr. Steiner. I appreciate his judgment, his inner peace, and his smart view of the big picture when balancing risks with opportunities. STEINER: I can only reiterate Dr. Bethke s description of our cooperation. It is very rare that two people like us can work well together for such a long time. I think what unites us is a basic understanding of many things. It s not to say we haven t had our share of struggling while searching for the right solution, but it always worked out. Our differences have helped the company move forward for a long time. It was almost akin to yin and yang. Where do you think K+S will be in five years? Will we remain an independent company that can hold its own in the sea of major potash producers in the world? STEINER: Of course, you can never say for certain. The company will maintain the rhythm of production at our sites in Germany as well as possible. It will press on with the Legacy Project and the specialties to strengthen our position in the potash segment and keep the cash flow moving. The same holds true for the salt segment with Salt It will open up new possibilities for the company in the next five years. Who knows, potentially for a third pillar? K+S has an excellent future, but there is much work ahead. I place my trust in our successors wholeheartedly. DR. BETHKE: Our excellent employees and our customer relations some of which stretch back over many years are what make us strong. There is a strong drive for innovation in our company that lets us find intelligent solutions, but we need to also keep an eye on costs. I can picture us holding our own in the sea of salt and potash producers! INTERVIEWERS: THOMAS BRANDL AND CLAAS MICHAELIS Photos: Harry Soremski (2), Dominik Asbach
19 WORKING OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY 19 Ambitious Goal of Dramatic Cuts in Emissions Underground K+S to make substantial investments in the Group s vehicles, ventilation of the mines, and the development of explosives due to stringent emissions thresholds in Germany. The electric edition of Toyota s Land Cruiser moves nearly silently through the central area of the Borth rock salt plant at a depth of 880 meters, climbs slopes of 40 degrees, and recharges its battery again on the descent. Mining Engineer Nicolai Martens is proud of the electric vehicle that he developed together with a company of experts from Southern Germany. Despite his initial skepticism, Uwe Blättermann, Head of Production Underground, had to admit that The Toyota is perfectly designed for the conditions we have underground. On November 4, 2016, Germany reduced threshold limit values for nitrogen oxide in the workplace; this means mining companies such as K+S must make substantial investments in order to comply with the new thresholds after the fiveyear transition period. Gerd Kübler, Head of Mining at K+S AG, says, The whole situation is a genuine challenge for a company like ours, but we ll manage. A very comprehensive set of policies is intended to ensure compliance with the threshold limits that have been reduced, in certain cases, to a tenth of the previous limit by October 31, These measures include replacing a number of the mobile machines and vehicles underground in Germany (there are currently 2,250) with the latest generation of electric or diesel vehicles (which feature very low emissions), using new low-emission explosives, and optimizing the ventilation systems and processes that are in place underground. The transformation program will be accompanied by a comprehensive health study of up to 1,500 miners in Zielitz and Werra. Switch to Electric Vehicles One of the most difficult challenges that we will face in meeting these requirements will obviously be replacing and retrofitting the underground fleet. The total capacity of the diesel power for all of the mobile machines is around 200 megawatts: 41 percent of this is for production machines, 32 percent is for transport vehicles, and 27 percent is for other machines. For this reason, machines and vehicles with modern engine technology, which fulfill the latest emissions standards, will gradually be implemented and, wherever possible, electric drives for heavy diesel loaders, drilling rigs, and vehicles will be used, for example. The electric edition of the Land Cruiser used at the Borth plant is enjoying its status as a prototype and stirring up great interest among the colleagues at other sites throughout Germany and beyond. Nicolai Martens has been Head of Mines General Planning since May He has been very pleased with the vehicle, which has been working underground since mid-january. The range of the Land Cruiser is up to 160 kilometers on a full charge with 46 kilowatt/hours. It only needs to be plugged in every second or third shift. Standard features include Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. There is no need The vehicle is perfectly designed for the conditions we have underground. Uwe Blättermann for further maintenance work and the operating costs are on par with diesel models. Explosives with Even Lower Emissions Work is also being carried out on the explosives being used, in addition to the improvements being made to the ventilation systems in all mines. MSW-CHEMIE GmbH, which is based in Langelsheim, Germany, is the explosives plant of the K+S Group and has been developing new explosives that have very low emissions. Shortly before the holiday season in 2016, the one-millionth metric ton of ANDEX explosive was produced. The new explosive is called GRANDEX; however, it is still being researched. Nevertheless, an initial test that was conducted at the Neuhof-Ellers plant showed a reduction in the nitrogen oxide in the blasting fumes. A comprehensive health study will be held together with the Materials and Chemical Industry Professional Association as part of the K+S strategy to reduce contaminant levels underground in 2017 and Various informational events are being planned for Kassel and the Zielitz and Werra plants. 250 MILLION is the estimated cost that will be necessary to comply with the new threshold limits underground by October Testing a prototype in the field: Nicolai Martens (left) and Uwe Blättermann are fans of the new electric Land Cruiser.
20 20 FROM OUR SITES NEWS SCOOP 1/2017 PORT MOODY New Warehouse for Potash from Saskatchewan Work on the future loading station for Legacy potash at Port Moody is going according to plan. Project Manager Horst Fey (photo, right) and Christina Mittelbach, Head of Procurement & Contracts, expect the first tonne of potash by the end of Q The 263-meter-long warehouse with a capacity of 160,000 tonnes and a 300-meter-long conveyor belt system leading to the pier is scheduled to be completed by the end of April. The first potash ship will dock in summer PERSONNEL Lutz Grüten Becomes Head of Investor Relations Lutz Grüten has been preparing for his future role as head of the Investor Relations unit (C-IR) at K+S Aktiengesellschaft since early April He succeeds Thorsten Boeckers, who was appointed to the Board of Executive Directors of K+S Aktiengesellschaft effective May 12, At the same time, Grüten will take over management of the Investor Relations unit. Grüten has already supported K+S for many years as an experienced financial analyst. He most recently worked for Commerzbank. When the Werra Valley s White Mountains Turn Green The tailing piles in the Werra Valley will generate up to 80 percent less wastewater after they are covered, which will improve the environment. The semi-technical test starts this year in Hattorf. Like the KKF, covering the tailing piles is an important aspect of securing the future of the Werra potash plant and the thousands of jobs it provides. With these words, Dr. Sascha Vensky, Project Engineer at the Werra potash plant, underscored the importance of covering and revegetating the tailing piles in the Werra potash district. The semi-technical test at the Hattorf site is scheduled to start within the year; a side of the tailing pile measuring 30 meters high and 100 meters wide will be covered with a substrate and then revegetated. If the tailing pile is not covered, precipitation will land on the pile, resulting in salt water collecting in the trenches along the sides of the pile that must be disposed of. In the future, the substrate layer and the plants will absorb the precipitation and then transpire it. Scientific tests have already shown that transpiration rates of up to 80 percent are possible. The process of covering the tailing piles in the Werra potash district is a continuous one that will take several Covering the tailing piles is important to securing the future of the Werra potash plant. decades. It is part of the Salt Reduction Master Plan and will be implemented in a number of consecutive steps. The search for potential substrate materials for covering the piles began in 2012; the materials would need to be able to stay put on the steep sides of the piles, allow the piles to be revegetated over the long term, and make it possible to utilize the piles in the future without causing harm. Greenhouses were used to test the selected materials ability to support vegetation, followed by the lysimeter test at the Wintershall tailing pile. This test involved measuring the revegetation capabilities, transpiration, and seepage water quality of various material mixtures in eight containers (lysimeters) to determine the materials best suited for further tests. A mixture of cinders from incinerated household garbage and ash from coal combustion proved to be the right material for covering the Hattorf tailing pile. A section of the Wintershall tailing pile will be covered in the coming years based on the results of the semitechnical test; one entire side of the 200-meter-high pile will be revegetated. Total coverage will begin during regular operations once this major test is successfully completed, with the goal of completely covering the Hattorf and Wintershall tailing piles by Step-by-step revegetation of the tailing pile at the Sigmundshall plant: A similar process is planned for the Wintershall tailing pile.
21 21 SIGMUNDSHALL 21 METRIC TONS Prospects for Full Production Starting in 2018 Salt water from the Werra plant used for flooding in other locations HATTORF Production at the Werra potash plant won t be entirely smooth in 2017, after phases of reduced hours in 2016 and fire damage in Hattorf. The regional council of Kassel granted permission to continue disposing of saline wastewater in the ground, but the permit, which is valid until the end of 2021, only allows for an annual disposal volume of 1.5 million cubic meters, at a maximum of 5,000 cubic meters per day. K+S had applied for 3.9 million cubic meters for 2017 alone. Consequently, production will continue to depend on the flow of the Werra River. The KKF offers better prospects for full production beginning in 2018; at that point, the volume of wastewater will drop by 20 percent. We re doing everything in our power to surmount these challenges together, says Dr. Rainer Gerling, Managing Director of K+S KALI GmbH. In order to ensure that production remains as consistent as possible, saline wastewater is transported to other locations to Bergmannssegen-Hugo for flooding the mines and to Bernburg, where a cavern belonging to VNG Gasspeicher GmbH is being flooded with 210,000 cubic meters of saturated brine and permanently secured. OF PAYLOAD is how much the shovel of the new loader at the Sigmundshall potash plant can hold. Quite an accomplishment for a vehicle that s just 2.6 meters tall. Loaders from other manufacturers are often three meters or taller. The new, compact LF-21H from special vehicle manufacturer GHH can even fit through stretches covered by low roof ridges when its shovel is fully loaded; it is being tested as a prototype in Sigmundshall for a possible roll-out to the entire K+S Group. Three more loaders of this model are scheduled to be put to use in the Unterbreizbach mine, says Dr. Heinrich Sönksen, Head of Underground Mining Equipment Engineering at K+S. If the LF-21H proves itself, K+S will order more of them possibly also for the Morton Salt plants. According to Sönksen, the engine is impressive it meets the higher requirements of the Tier IV final emissions standard and the manufacturer s modular approach is also a plus. In partnership with K+S, GHH is developing a scaling vehicle based on the LF-21H for roof ridge heights of eleven meters. Charcoal sketches of mining themes by artist Ines Zimmermann decorate the walls of the cafeteria in Bernburg. The left-hand side depicts the current state of the Wintershall tailing pile. In the future, it could look like the depiction on the right-hand side. Photos: K+S AG Illustration: Ines Zimmermann Enjoying Art at Lunchtime BERNBURG Sketches by artist Ines Zimmerman are currently on display in the cafeteria at the esco salt mine in Bernburg. The plant has given a salt grant to two local artists every year since 2001; the recipients then create salt-related artwork in media such as paint, graphic design, plastics, or textiles. The artists are given the opportunity to visit the plant both above and belowground to get an idea of how things work and find inspiration for their artwork. The resulting exhibition is then presented in the cafeteria from December to November.
22 22 KNOWLEDGE EXPATRIATES SCOOP 1/2017 Looking Beyond the End of Your Nose There are currently 79 K+S employees working abroad. These expats are expanding their horizons, gaining valuable professional experience, and promoting the transfer of know-how. They are getting to know our global company and strengthening the bonds within K+S. BY PARISSA AKHYARI AND THOMAS BRANDL BOOTS Javier Ramos and his wife Kareen both enjoy hiking. They have already explored every corner of the forests surrounding Kassel. In addition, they are absolute fans of the new Grimm World museum. Facts and Figures Individual employees started taking on assignments abroad in the 1990s. Now there is a special policy guideline for the numerous assignments to other countries. The length of a typical assignment generally falls between three months and five years. More than half of the K+S expats are currently stationed in Canada. There is a hardship allowance available for assignments at certain sites, such as São Paulo, Brazil, due to the more difficult local living conditions. There is a special program available to employees to help prepare them for their stint abroad. In addition to language classes, K+S provides special training sessions, one of which is mandatory for all employees heading abroad: intercultural skills. Swenja Weidig, Team Leader for International Assignments in Kassel, Germany, points out, This topic is often underestimated. Employees initially think the differences in culture are minimal and are not especially critical to job performance. They realize how handy the training was when they encounter unusual situations in their new work environment. As part of the offering, there are look-and-see trips to provide the colleagues with a closer look at the culture before they relocate. Together with their family, they can travel to their new temporary home and learn the layout of the land. K+S understands the importance of people s home country, so the company offers flights back to Germany for the employee and their family members. Javier Ramos is a truly novel employee at K+S. He is the only person from another country to have come to Kassel. He traveled to Germany with his wife and son in January 2016 and serves as Head of Provider Management in IT. His daughter and other son study at the university in Santiago de Chile. He didn t experience a culture shock when he arrived in Kassel, Germany. I had been to Germany on business several times, so I knew many of my colleagues already. The only real problem is the language. To lessen the barrier, he attends a German class three times a week. A Unique Opportunity Initially, Ramos assignment was planned to last two years. In the meantime, it has been extended to My experiences with Germans have been very positive. People both at work and in my new neighborhood have embraced me in their hearts, adds the Chilean. What will be his take-away from his time in Germany? It s been a great help learning about how workflows in Kassel are planned and exchanging ideas with colleagues. As an added benefit, I know a lot more about the German culture now. Jan Grommas, a business chemist, is one of the veterans of the K+S expat community at just 36 years old. He had already worked in R&D and corporate development when he moved with his wife Anna-Lena von Wolff to Saskatoon in mid He was going to be a part of the Legacy Project from its inception. Now the family includes four-year old Nora June and two-year old Paul Ethan.
23 WISSEN 23 EXPATRIATES CANADA, HERE WE COME! Grommas and von Wolff hold on to their ticket stub from the Hanover Zoo very dearly. In 2011, they received it from friends on a visit, with their well wishes for the family s new life in their temporary home. Photos: Heiko Meyer (2), David Stobbe (3), private, Matthew Gilson, Shutterstock, C3 The newest additions to the family understand it when their parents speak German, but prefer to use English. Anna- Lena, who holds degrees in Economics and Urban Planning, now works for KSPC, but through a local contract. Grommas and von Wolff see their time in Canada as a huge asset. We really only wanted to stay for two, three years, but now we re a little melancholic when we think about having to say goodbye. The people here have such a positive outlook! As Legacy Program Coordinator and right-hand man for KSPC President Dr. Ulrich Lamp, Jan Grommas has been able to gain valuable experiences, which he can apply on his return to Germany. It s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, comments Mr. Grommas, for which he is grateful. Both he and his family have used the time to also visit the vast reaches of Canada from the West coast to the Saint Lawrence River, making many new friends on the way. Is there still something that the German family misses in Canada? Gummy bears from Haribo and the herbal teas! And with the nearest IKEA store approximately 550 kilometers away in Edmonton, a simple shopping trip becomes a weekend event. It seems odd, especially when they live near Broadway (the one in Saskatoon) and work on Wall Street. It isn t something you can find just anywhere Now we re a little melancholic when we think about having to say goodbye. Jan Grommas Chicago Is Fascinating Karina Lakenbrink, who works as the Head of Human Resources at K+S Salt LLC in Chicago, also took advantage of an assignment abroad within the K+S Group. She has been living on the windy shores of Lake Michigan since October She is enthusiastic about both the city and her work environment. Chicago is a fascinating city with an enormous range of free-time activities, events at sporting and music venues, parks, beaches, and ethnic diversity, with people from everywhere. The HR expert worked as an au pair in the US and studied, interned, and volunteered in Spain and Argentina before earning an International Business degree, gaining a great deal of intercultural experience along the way. She is primarily responsible for performance and talent management and appreciates that her work supports K+S Salt and K+S North America as well as Morton Salt. In the past few years, there have been many positive changes in Business Unit Salt and at Morton Salt. It has been fascinating to be part of this change, also in terms of the management culture. Karina Lakenbrink knows it s important to send employees on international assignments within the K+S Group. When the exchange of ideas is limited to individual topics or projects, you lose touch of big picture, and it becomes difficult to determine how to develop processes and programs while keeping the interests of the K+S Group and country-specific needs in mind. Karina Lakenbrink has no idea how long Chicago will be the center of her life, but she feels like she is in the right place. It is easy for her to stay in touch with her family and friends by traveling back to Germany and hosting visitors from back home, because Chicago is definitely worth visiting! BICYCLE Karina Lakenbrink even took her own bicycle along with her to the US. You can spot her on her old Dutch bike touring the gorgeous highlights of Chicago.
24 24 KNOWLEDGE FACTS AND FIGURES SCOOP 1/2017 Did You Know that Salar de Uyuni is the world s largest salt lake? That K+S had two reasons to celebrate in December 2016? Or that the Salzalpensteig hiking trail runs from Bavaria to Upper Austria? 10,582 SQUARE KILOMETERS is the size of Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, making it the largest salt lake in the world. 20 Lake Constances could fit into Salar de Uyuni. Lake Constance Salar de Uyuni RECORD Historic performance: The Zielitz potash plant extracted and processed its twelve millionth metric ton of crude salt in December The Neuhof-Ellers plant broke a 2016 extraction and production record of four million metric tons of crude salt during the same month. 75 KILOGRAMS of potash is how much an average oil palm needs during its 25-year life span in order to grow properly and produce a full yield. 12 MILLION METRIC TONS 4 MILLION METRIC TONS 230 KILOMETERS is the length of the Salzalpensteig hiking trail. It runs from Prien, Bavaria, to Salzburg and on to Obertraun in Austria.
25 KNOWLEDGE 25 EMPLOYEE SURVEY Breakfast in a relaxed atmosphere: Colleagues at Morton Salt in Chicago enjoyed a little raffle, in addition to the information they received. CEO Christian Herrmann (right) was very satisfied. Straight Talk Over Coffee and at the Forum for Questions Photos: K+S AG, Shutterstock (2) Illustration: C3 Visual Lab The global employee survey in September 2015 titled Tell it like it is! resulted in two main requests: greater transparency and greater communication. A summary of the achievements thus far. Regular department meetings, straight talk sessions and information for employees, town hall meetings, the two new formats Breakfast with the Boss and Gute Frage! (Good Question!) K+S has implemented all these measures to strengthen employees trust in the company. Director of Human Resources Dr. Thomas Nöcker explains, We are very interested in the issues impacting our colleagues. We always offer a sympathetic ear when problems occur. Breakfast with the Boss works the same way everywhere within the K+S Group, whether in Kassel, Olhao, Hamburg, Santiago, Bernburg, Grantsville, Borth, or Chicago. Members of the Executive Board, managing directors, and plant managers generally meet with ten employees in a relaxed atmosphere the employees apply to join in advance. No questions are off limits. And after the meetings, when colleagues post things like It was more relaxed and open than I expected. We should do this more often on the company s internal Yammer channel, it clearly shows: Message received. A total of 25 of these joint breakfasts have been held at K+S locations around the world during the first six months since the program launched. The biggest was last October in Chicago. Employees at Morton Salt came up with a very special concept. Six senior managers CEO Christian Herrmann, Vice Presidents Tim McKean, Shayn Wallace, Dan Thompson, and Paul Beliveau, and CEO of K+S Salt Jean-Lous David answered questions from 150 of their colleagues. Each of the six managers set up a little breakfast station in their offices, where employees could come to get information and pick up a stamp for a raffle. Employees Are Curious There has also been strong interest in the employee forum Gute Frage! (Good Question!) launched on September 1, The Kassel-based Communication Services department is responsible for moderating the forum. It faced a barrage of questions of a widely varying nature and quality right from the very beginning. This demonstrates that employees are apparently in great need of information, but unfortunately, many of the anonymously submitted questions violated the guidelines regarding decency and respect despite the fact that the rules were clearly communicated. K+S took cues from other companies and is now conducting its employee forum as an open dialog; since April, any questions submitted must also include the submitter s name. A project entitled is currently under development. Its aim is to improve the digital information that employees of K+S locations in Germany receive. An initial test run is planned for the third quarter of Last fall, national communicators started networking in their own Yammer group; now, the plan is to expand this approach to the international level. Long-term Project: Part of developing the new group strategy for K+S is establishing a new leadership culture. The motto is Trust, Transparency, and Cooperation, and the focus is on preparing managers to hold an open dialog with their employees. The Corporate Human Resources department (C-HR) will be responsible for this long-term project.
26 26 PEOPLE HOBBY SCOOP 1/2017 Precision and Tactics on the Ice Immigrants from Scotland to Canada popularized a winter sport that even became part of the Olympics in KSPC employee Brock Montgomery is a curler known well beyond the borders of his home province of Saskatchewan. Lead player Trent Knapp pushes out of the hack at one end of the 45-meter-long, fivemeter-wide playing area, with razor-sharp focus. Supported by his broom, he glides a few meters to the hog line and sends the 20-kilogram, polished granite stone on its way toward the house. Before the stone leaves his hand, Trent gives it the slightest twist. The stone stops right in front of the house, acting as a guard against the opposing team s stones just as he planned. The word curling comes from the Old English to curl, which meant to revolve. Brock Montgomery, who works as a supervisor for the wet end of the new Legacy potash plant near Bethune, Saskatchewan, is playing the position of second in a bonspiel in the province s capital city of Regina today. He has to give the four stones currently parked in front of the house a wide berth in order to get as close to the center as possible and earn points for his four-person team. If the stone starts to slow down on its way there, his teammates sweep the ice in front of it as hard as they can with their brooms. It might look a little silly, but it s extremely effective. Chess on Ice Twelve teams are competing on this Saturday morning at the curling rink dedicated to Sandra Schmirler, local heroine and champion of Teamwork is the key to success in curling. Brock Montgomery has been playing since he was eight years old. the 1998 Nagano Olympics. It s a relaxed and friendly competition, but the players are still ambitious and eager to win. It s been said that curling is like chess on ice, and there s certainly some truth to that. Tactics play an extremely important role, in addition to the players technical abilities. Brock Montgomery has played every position, from lead to skip, the latter of which gives the player the opportunity to score decisive points with the final stone. The KSPC employee even won the bronze in the Canadian Junior Curling Championship at one point. He has been curling since he was eight years old, just like his father and grandfather before him. His son Maddox (6)
27 PEOPLE K+S SOCIAL 27 The Story of a Lifesaver Technician Marco Heil of Neuhof-Ellers donated stem cells, helping a woman with leukemia fight her battle against the disease. Photos: Greg Huszar (3), K+S AG (2) just started playing recently. I also played ice hockey as a kid, Montgomery says. But at some point, you have to choose your sport if you want to advance. Hockey is still the number one sport in Canada, but curling is certainly a close second; its popularity has been on the rise thanks to the fact that curling matches are more frequently being shown on television. They Just Put Him on the Team Twice a week, the team led by skip Randy Bryden trains in Moose Jaw and Regina. This is Brock Montgomery s first season with the team. It was so hard to beat him so we just put him on our team, says Bryden with a grin. The team plays matches on seven out of eight weekends during the curling season from October to February, and games in Manitoba, Alberta, and Ontario might also follow. What s so exciting about this sport? It s a precision game, says Brock Montgomery. It requires enormous concentration and good instincts. And the camaraderie is important, as well, he adds. Back on the rink at the Caledonian Curling Club in Regina Randy Bryden s team is facing an extremely challenging opponent this morning. Unlike the match they played in the neighboring city of Estevan a few weeks ago, they aren t able to pull this one out; in the end, Team Selke has the edge, with a final score of 5:4. That s just how it goes in sports sometimes. In Canada, even small towns of 500 people have their own curling rinks, but Brock Montgomery searched in vain for a place to practice while in Zielitz, Germany, for LOTP in the fall of I couldn t even find one in Magdeburg. Our German colleagues should really do something about that. Marco Heil is a positive person with a strong love of life; if he weren t, he might not have done what he did. In September of last year, he went to DKMS to donate stem cells for an English woman suffering from leukemia. DKMS was originally founded in Germany in 1991 as a bone marrow donation center; it registers cancer patients and potential donors from around the world. There s a story behind Heil s decision; a young man in his hometown died of leukemia a number of years ago. I never forgot his hopelessness, says the technician from the Neuhof- Ellers plant. It was always at the back of his mind, and a DKMS advertisement gave him the final push he needed. At that point, I realized I needed to help, Heil explains. He asked DKMS to send him special cotton swabs. He took a swab of the inside of his cheek, which DKMS then analyzed. Confirmation came in April 2016: He was a potential donor. I was so thrilled to get that news, Heil recalls. After donating, I thought about how the patient might feel. Above: Marco Heil (center) with Frederik Wecker (DKMS, left) and Dr. Thomas Nöcker. Below: Marco Heil during the stem cell extraction. Cheerful Despite the Strain Of course, the road from being named a potential donor to actually donating is a long one. The next step was for Heil to send a blood sample to DKMS. That was followed by a check-up at the Deutscher Blutspendedienst blood donation service in Frankfurt. Here, the doctors checked him out from top to bottom literally. He was found to be perfectly healthy and was registered there as a potential donor. They were able to set a date for his donation. Marco Heil hasn t been at K+S for long; he joined the Neuhof-Ellers plant in September It was a little uncomfortable for him, as a new employee, to immediately ask for a day off for his donation date. But his supervisor was understanding: He made everything easy for me, Heil says. K+S gave him the day off right away. Heil had to inject himself with a medication to increase the production of stem cells in his blood four days before the procedure. On September 7, the day had finally come: Early in the morning, he and his wife drove 100 kilometers to the Deutscher Blutspendedienst in Frankfurt, where his blood had to be prepared and his stem cells filtered out. He was connected to medical tubes for four hours. Today, actual bone marrow donations are only used in 20 percent of cases. Peripheral stem cell extraction is overwhelmingly preferred, as in Marco Heil s case. The procedure still made him a little uneasy. But everything went well! After making his donation, the technician started to think about how the recipient of his stem cells might feel and whether the donation would help. But only time will tell. It will take a few years before doctors will know whether the patient has been entirely cured or not. Heil doesn t know for sure who is genetic twin is. All he knows is that the woman is 64 years old and English. Donors and recipients are not allowed to meet until two years have passed according to German law. Marco Heil was honored for his donation by Member of the Board of Executive Directors Dr. Thomas Nöcker and DKMS employee Frederik Wecker in Kassel, Germany, on December 14. We are proud to have an employee at our company, Marco Heil, who was willing to make this donation, said Dr. Thomas Nöcker. As for Marco, he is happy that he was able to help someone fight the battle against cancer.
28 28 PEOPLE MY HOMETOWN SCOOP 1/2017 SERIES: MY HOMETOWN Wide-open skies and not a drop of rain: The blazing sun in the salt flats makes protective eyewear a necessity. Working in a Little Corner of Paradise Galinhos might be the most remote location in the entire K+S Group. Far up in the northeast of Brazil, Salina Diamante Branco produces 450,000 metric tons of white gold every year. Jorge Lage has worked there for 20 years and he loves it. BY THOMAS BRANDL Blazing sun reflected by the ocean and the mountains of salt, a constant wind, and hardly any rain it s no wonder that 95 percent of Brazil s salt is produced in the state of Rio Grande do Norte. It s a two-hour drive from the capital city of Natal to Galinhos, a sleepy little town with 2,500 residents on an endless stretch of sandy beach. A lagoon lined with mangroves sprawls out behind the village; it feeds Salina Diamante Branco with Atlantic seawater. The lagoon covers 4,000 hectares, or approximately 5,600 soccer fields. Jorge Lage, who supervises the salt production process from harvesting and cleaning to storage and loading onto trucks and ships, radiates the humble serenity typical of the Nordestinos, the people of the arid, practically barren Sertão bushland. They re used to traveling long distances. Jorge sleeps in a dormitory on the premises of the salt works during the week, just like a third of the other 150 employees. On Friday afternoons, he either makes the two- to threehour drive inland down an unpaved road to Lajes, his hometown, or he heads to Natal, where his children Itala and Abílio live and where his wife Maria is currently working on completing a further education program. The geological technician is satisfied with his life, despite the long commute. I work in the great outdoors in a little corner of paradise. Jorge goes jogging every day to stay in shape. Sometimes he plays soccer with his colleagues; after the sun sets at around 6:00 p.m., they switch to billiards or dominoes. We re like a big family, he says, and luckily, the younger ones listen to me, because I have a lot of experience and really know my way around the salt flats. It takes about 60 days for the salt water to make its way through the 22 basins and GALINHOS Horsepower Endless sandy beaches, dunes, little huts, a few restaurants, and horse-drawn carts as the most important method of transportation: In Galinhos, it s as though time has stood still. The town can only be reached by ferry or by taking an allterrain vehicle along the Atlantic coast. crystallize to the point where the salt is ready to be harvested. Then, the salt is loaded onto trucks that drive 3,000 kilometers to the south of Brazil, or onto the Porto do Dornelles, which transports the white gold to the deep-water port of Termisa 60 nautical miles away. At Salina Diamante Branco, Jorge is a sort of jack of all trades; his advice and opinions are always in demand. One thing that Jorge It s a good feeling to have a warehouse full of high-quality salt. 1 and all of his colleagues in Galinhos have in common is their pride in the product they produce. It s just a good feeling to have a warehouse full of high-quality salt. So what do you do around Galinhos when you have a free weekend that doesn t involve hours of driving to Lajes or Natal? Jorge loves to take a boat out into the mangroves and go on a fishing trip in the calm waters of the lagoon; to watch the African black ducks swimming in the water, southern crested caracaras, pink dolphins, armadillos, and deer; to swim in the crystal-clear waters of the Lago Azul ; or to stroll into the local vil- Photos: Claus Lehmann (4), K+S (3), Shutterstock Illustration: C3 Visual Lab
29 PEOPLE MY HOMETOWN 29 2 SALT WORKS Community The 150 employees of Salina Diamante Branco stick together. Around one-third of them sleep at a company dormitory during the week, as their hometowns are often several hours inland, accessible only via unpaved roads. 3 LIFE ON THE WATER Nature, Pure and Beautiful Seahorses, wild oysters, and a whole range of fishes live in the clean waters of the lagoon in Galinhos. When Jorge Lage doesn t go home on the weekend, he enjoys the pristine natural beauty and the mangroves surrounding the lagoon. Galinhos BRAZIL 1 3 Galinhos Lagoon 2 Salina Diamante Branco SOUTH ATLANTIC do Norte Rio Grande 4 Lajes Riacho América Rio Ceará mirim Rio Potengi Rio Jacu Natal There are actually two states with (almost) the same name in Brazil: Rio Grande do Sul on the border with Uruguay, and Rio Grande do Norte. The much smaller state in the northeast is famous for its beaches and dunes, as well as for its much drier climate. Just three million people live within the state s 52,811 square kilometers, a third of them in the capital city of Natal. It was founded by the Portuguese in The cathedral and Forte dos Reis Magos still bear witness to Natal s roots today. One Company, Three Locations lage, which has no cars at all on its roads made of sand. Getting to the peninsula of Galinhos requires taking the little passenger ferry across the inlet or making a long detour along the coast with an all-terrain vehicle. Jorge s eyes really light up when he talks about his hometown. He is the seventh of twelve children in a family of farmers, and he never lost that connection to agriculture and the land. In Lajes, he raises goats and Nelore cattle, both of which cope with the dryness in Sertão very well. I don t live my life at the same speed as people in a big city, he says, satisfied. But I don t need to. AT HOME IN LAJES 4 Raising Goats Connected to agriculture: Jorge Lage raises goats and Nelore cattle in his hometown of Lajes. He only really feels at home there. Salina Diamante Branco is a subsidiary of K+S Chile. The company has three locations: Galinhos, Natal (which handles operational management), and Rio de Janeiro (headquarters and financial administration). SDB primarily serves the Brazilian market, but also exports its products to destinations as far away as Africa.
30 30 WORKING VOLUNTEERS SCOOP 1/2017 Maik Hünecke is AVBT Coordinator, which is why he also visits the facilities of other companies. Here he is in front of the drilling rig of MB Well Services.
31 WORKING VOLUNTEERS 31 BY PARISSA AKHYARI If Maik Hünecke hadn t stepped up to the plate, it would have meant the end of one of the most important pillars of the training offered by K+S and eight other companies. The AVBT, short for training association for mining technology experts in deep drilling, had just lost its previous coordinator, an employee from one of the other companies. At first, there was no replacement. Hünecke explains, If they didn t find someone to act as coordinator, the association would have ceased to exist, just like this vocational training. I couldn t let that happen! This type of training is unique in his eyes; it serves to enrich the offering of vocational training programs. Deep drilling engineering unites technological know-how with mining logistics and precision in a unique environment. The training means high quality. The AVBT was formed in 2009: nine companies from the German mining or oil and natural gas drilling industries joined forces with their training programs. Alongside K+S a member since 2011, the following companies are part of the AVBT: DEA Deutsche Erdöl AG, Engie E&P Deutschland GmbH, German Oil Tools GmbH, H. Anger s Söhne Bohrund Brunnenbaugesellschaft mbh, KCA Deutag Drilling GmbH, MB Well Services GmbH, Untergrundspeicher- und Geotechnologie-Systeme GmbH, and Wintershall Holding GmbH. Heart and Soul for a Unique Profession Maik Hünecke (34) wants to give young people access to good training opportunities. He s been coordinating the AVBT (training association for mining technology experts in deep drilling) at the Zielitz potash plant since February Maik Hünecke demonstrates to trainees how use the exploration drilling machine What does he like most about his job as a Coordinator? I don t have to stay in one place long, I visit people at the other companies, and we can exchange ideas. The AVBT members hold a bi-annual meeting so that they can provide progress updates on their activities. Photos: Frank Schinski Deep drilling engineering unites technological know-how with mining logistics and precision. Well-trained, all-round Trainees need to attend the program for three years to become qualified technicians in deep drilling. And they need to work at one of the AVBT-affiliated companies. In the time they spend there, the budding mining technology experts learn about geology, drilling, drilling methods, exploration of deposits, and much more. Furthermore, they learn the basics of metalworking at the training centers above ground. Maik Hünecke plays a major role in making sure everything runs smoothly during training. He dons several hats in the process. As Coordinator, he regularly keeps tabs on the instructors from the vocational schools. Together, they determine the curriculum for the training programs, while continually reviewing them to ensure they are being followed. As Chair of the examination board, he is in charge of developing, conducting, and grading exams. He also regularly keeps in touch with the member companies as a further major responsibility. He can be approached at any time if there are any issues regarding training. He also maintains a relationship with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and keeps in mind the chamber s needs in terms of training program content. He also does this work on a volunteer basis, although K+S gives him the leave needed for his multifaceted position. Hünecke is also the father of a threeyear-old son. Since becoming the Coordinator, he has invested his heart and soul in the AVBT, as well. I believe it s important to create an awareness for this association. It s important that other companies take advantage of the benefits of being a 9 is the number of German COMPANIES who are currently AVBT members. member of it. For example, he improved communication channels, and there is now a new Internet site for youths who are interested in becoming a qualified technician in deep drilling that encourages them to register as a trainee. Applications can be submitted online (www. avbt.de). Hünecke will forward them to the member companies. Members active in the exchange Trainees benefit greatly from the spirit of close cooperation. For example, it includes opportunities for hands-on training in member companies. Maik Hünecke coordinates this regular exchange. Trainees can see things from a different vantage and broaden their own horizons. A trainee at a mining company like K+S wouldn t necessarily get a chance to learn what it s like to work at an oil and natural gas drilling company. What s more, the association has created a network for trainees who were not absorbed into the company where they were taught after they have completed the program. Hünecke helps these qualified technicians in deep drilling to exploit the job opportunities that are on offer at member companies. Currently, there are 28 youths enrolled in the training program for mining technology experts in deep drilling operations at the K+S Group s German sites. Nico Webers (19) is one such trainee at the Zielitz potash plant. The training has many facets and is opening many doors for me, because you can work above ground as well as underground. For Maik Hünecke, this youth s enthusiasm is a confirmation and sign that his time as a volunteer is well-spent.
32 32 FUN PAGE THEMA ART EXHIBITION documenta 14 at Two Locations Now KASSEL and Athens / The 14 th edition of documenta takes place in Kassel, Germany, from June 10 to September 17, Argentine artist Marta Minujín will present her installation, The Parthenon of Books, which will be set up in the middle of Kassel as a replica of the temple in Athens using banned books. This year, for the first time ever, there is a second venue for the international art exhibition in Athens, which will run from April 8 to July 16. EASTER CONCERT Singing Star Anastacia Performs Underground MERKERS / Singer-songwriter Anastacia stood before cheering crowds at the Adventure Mine in Merkers. Several TV broadcasters sent teams to the 500-meter-deep massive former bunker to cover the performance of the Chicago-born star. 1,400 fans filled the concert hall to enjoy Anastacia and her crew, who in turn were amazed by the special concert hall with its extraordinary acoustics. NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF K+S You can try out in the field what you just learned. David Kircher on the program to become a chemical technology assistant (CTA). It has been offered by the K+S Werra plant, together with a local school, for ten years now. SCOOP 1/2017 Easter is the day on which Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. It is sometimes celebrated in March, sometimes in April, like this year. Why does it change? It always falls on the Sunday after the first full moon of spring. At the beginning of the year, ten K+S colleagues from Germany and the Netherlands hopped across the pond for a half-year Legacy Project assignment. They keep in touch with family and friends back home by sending virtual postcards via the online portal. Winners from the last issue The following lucky employees will receive a scale model of the Caterpillar: Wilfried Bertram, Wolmirstedt (D) Ulrich Klotzbach, Philippsthal (D) Jarrett Hagel, Bethune (CAN) PUBLISHING DETAILS Publisher: K+S Aktiengesellschaft Editor-in-Chief: Thomas Brandl Editorial Staff: Parissa Akhyari, Claas Michaelis Telephone: ( ) Fax: ( ) Internet: Address: K+S Aktiengesellschaft, Communication Services, Bertha-von- Suttner-Strasse 7, Kassel, Germany Photo Editing, Layout, and Production: C3 Creative Code and Content GmbH, Berlin, Germany Printing: Druckerei Bernecker, Melsungen, Germany Circulation: 21,000 Date of Publication: April 2017 ANIMAL DIVERSITY More Fish in the Werra WERRA / The results of a recent water monitoring assessment were positive. The European bitterling has been spotted in Thuringia several times. This nearly extinct freshwater fish belongs to the Cyprinidae, or carp family, and only spawns in symbiosis freshwater mussels, which were also recorded in the studies. The number of fish species in the Werra and Weser rivers has doubled since SEEDING CLOUDS Using Salt to Make Rain In the lab with CTA students David Kircher, Matthias Möller, and Tom Pietrak (left to right). ABU DHABI / The United Arab Emirates are using salt to induce more rainfall. Pilots working for the National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS) fired salts flares into the clouds over the country in an attempt to seed them and thereby increase condensation. The salt crystals in the flares could increase water condensation in the clouds and trigger a downpour. Annually the UAE has only 78 milliliters of rain, ranking it among the world s driest countries. Photos: K+S AG (2), MARWAN NAAMANI/AFP/Getty Images, Getty Images
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