Introducing RohstoffWissen

Apr 28, 2020 | 2020, EFGeoBlog

The non-profit organisation “RohstoffWissen!” (translated: knowledge of raw materials) has been founded on 15 May 2018 in Berlin as a response to a vivid problem in Germany and even in Europe: All projects which include any underground interferences meet public resistance. This observation can not only be made in the raw material domain but also in other areas such as e.g. infrastructure modernization for the energy transition and in greater construction projects. The goal of the association is to reduce the concern of the public by education and knowledge, to spread facts about mining local and worldwide, to diminish emotions and eventually to foster decision-making by the authorities, companies and the society as a hole on a rational and scientific base. Decision-making must run again by consensus. So the subtitle of the association´s name is “initiative to promote public awareness of raw materials”.

Members of RohstoffWissen! – both individuals and organisations – come from industry, science and other associations. However, RohstoffWissen! is completely independent and neither obliged to companies nor to special raw material or industrial sectors. RohstoffWissen! and its numerous partners unify broad knowledge and expertise regarding raw materials, their demand, their use and meaning in daily life, and Germany’s dependencies of other countries. One of the member organisations is the BDG (German Professional Association of Geoscientists, member of the EFG), which had the original idea of such an initiative some years ago.

Initiative to promote public awareness of raw materials.

The goal of the association is to reduce the concern of the public by education and knowledge, to spread facts about mining local and worldwide (…).

To reach the goals of RohstoffWissen! several activities are currently developed. For example, the association uses its excellent contacts to science journalists to organize a trip to selected active and former mines and related facilities, where the participants can get an intense look into local mining, recultivation and most recent research of raw materials. Another example is the launch of a so called “Bürgerdialog” (public dialogue). That means special events to reach people and to speak to people directly, to arouse public interest in general aspects of raw materials, to answer questions and to inform the public – all accompanied by a media campaign and by a scientific evaluation. And finally, a dinner debate for politicians and other stakeholders is in preparation, dealing with the complex situation of supply and demand of raw materials, the world wide supply-chains and how the geological situation referred to special elements and metals will influence the availability now and in the future. All projects are run in collaboration with other associations.

The Board of the RohstoffWissen! in front of the main entrance of the natural history museum in Berlin. In the first row, from the left the 3 executive board members (K.Hirsch, Dr. H-J. Weyer, U.Drachsel). Photo: © Knut Hirsch at

The new association and its goals have been introduced several times in different German journals (for example “Bergbau” 1/2020) and was presented on trade fairs and scientific events. Its activities match the updated raw material policy of the federal government of Germany where the public awareness of raw materials and the support of domestic mining are important points. More information (in German language) about the association, its board, members and partners you will find on the homepage For sure RohstoffWissen! takes a lot of work – but it´s worth it!

For sure Rohstoff Wissen! takes a lot of work – but it´s worth it!

Contributor: Hans-Jürgen Weyer

President of RohstoffWissen! - Bonn

Disclaimer: This article expresses the personal opinions of the author. These opinions may not reflect the official position of the European Federation of Geologists (EFG).