The KSL Copper Deposit

The KSL copper deposit Spremberg-Graustein-Schleife has been explored since the times of the German Democratic Republic (GDR), from 1954 to 1980. It is estimated to contain 1.5 million ton of copper. Other valuable metals like silver, lead, zinc, nickel, cobalt, molybdenum and small quantities of gold and rhenium are also found in the deposit. The deposit is 15 km in length and 3 km in width and has a thickness of ore averaging 2.5 meters. At a depth of 980-1580 meters the ore horizon is located at the base of the Zechstein, which was formed about 255 million years ago.

Copper shale seam from the Röhrigschacht Mine in Wettelrode
Copper shale seam from the Röhrigschacht Mine in Wettelrode

A similar geological deposit is located about 100 km further east in Lower Silesia. KGHM Polska Miedz SA, a Polish company has operated an approximately 550 km² deposit area Sieroszowice - Lubin - Glogów for many years producing copper.

Since the beginning of the last century it has been known that the mined copper shale in the Mansfeld area is also common in the Lausitz. It was not until after 1953 that targeted exploration work between Spremberg and Weißwasser in the border area between Brandenburg and Saxony began. The area had been conserved for oil and gas, as such deposits often occur together.

After initially working in the wide field of the so-called Mulkwitzer anticline, a more concentrated exploration was moved to an area immediately north and east of Spremberg. The geologists found two ore fields "Spremberg" and "Graustein", separated by the so-called Türkendorfer Graben, an area with a drop of rock layers several hundred meters deep. On the Saxony side, the investigation was less successful. Just southeast of Weißwasser an increased copper level was found in one borehole, which, however, did not appear promising enough for further geological exploration. Instead of copper, they found accumulations of lead and zinc.

After the reunification of Germany all ore mining in East Germany and later all of Germany was stopped abruptly due to unprofitability. The rapid increase in world prices of copper and other raw materials lead to a resumption of the copper mine project in Spremberg in 2007. The international mining holding company Minera S.A., the parent company of KSL Kupferschiefer Lausitz GmbH, received permission for exploration by mining authorities for a corresponding investigation program from Brandenburg and Saxony in June 2007.