In some areas, the legacies of old mining, such as waste rock piles, pits and adit mouths, are still preserved. Near-surface mining, adits and, above all, surface shafts can lead to deformations and damage to the surface due to the collapse of cavities and the failure of former covers and backfills, some of which are decades to centuries old and no longer meet today's requirements. These become evident through subsidence, cracks and fissures as well as daytime fractures.
These old mining-related damage events, which often occur without any prior signs, usually pose a threat to life, health and property. In addition to agricultural and forestry areas, traffic areas as well as residential and construction areas can also be affected.
The mining offices are responsible for the prevention of hazards from underground mining facilities (mine workings and shafts) that are no longer subject to mining supervision under the Federal Mining Act.
As part of the hazard reconnaissance (§ 55 of the State Criminal and Ordinance Law), a systematic inventory and evaluation of the old mining objects is carried out. A great deal of information is collected so that a reliable risk assessment can be made for the object in question. If this reveals a danger to public safety, the mining authorities initiate safety and remediation measures. The mining authorities only take action in their capacity as the responsible authority if the person responsible for the damage (known as the "disturber") cannot be identified.
In addition, the mining authorities also respond to inquiries from third parties and local authorities on issues relating to old mining operations that are no longer subject to mining law, particularly with regard to public safety. This also includes, for example, statements as a public interest group in the course of urban land use planning and in the course of building permit procedures with regard to hazards arising from old mining operations.