A True Team
What motivates people who go to work underground? What does a process engineer do with potash salt? And what is actually a Mine Surveyor? Each ERCOSPLAN employee has her or his own motivation, profession and story. This enables them to bring out their unique strengths and thus an enthusiasm for their tasks at hand. Some of our employees will tell their own story here, their journey to and with ERCOSPLAN. Find out more about our great team and challenges… around potash, salt and mining worldwide…
Dr. rer. nat. Laith Almazahreh
What Motivates Me
I completed my PhD studies in chemical sciences from the Friedrich Schiller University Jena. Subsequently, I conducted a postdoctoral research at the University of Western Brittany in France. During my doctoral and postdoctoral research, I have developed efficient catalysts for the production of hydrogen, which is one of the leading options for storing clean renewable energy. Afterwards, I was eager to continue my carrier in the field of potash industry, as the potassium nutrients are key fertilizers in struggling the devastating consequences of global warming and climate changes. Moreover, the potash industry has played a key role to meet the increased demand for food in step with population growth. In this respect, ERCOSPLAN with its 70 years of experience provides innovative solutions for the potash producers worldwide to plan or improve their production plants.
My Position at ERCOSPLAN
Since September 2016, I have been working at ERCOSPLAN as a process engineer responsible for designing / simulating manufacturing plants that transform minerals into potash products, such as MOP (Muriate of Potash) and SOP (Sulphate of Potash). This position at ERCOSPLAN paves the way for me to meet international scientists and engineers, which is an opportunity for gaining and sharing experience. Besides process design, I have also been involved in management of several project stages for plant design, starting from feasibility study and basic engineering to the detailed design phase.
What I Do
One of my tasks was to investigate the feasibility of debrining a Carnallite slurry prior to decomposition considering several process variants and debrining equipment, such as centrifuges and belt filters. Afterwards, I was responsible to manage the basic and detailed engineering phases of this project, which covers the planning to construct a steel structure for centrifuges. Furthermore, I provided process engineering services for a basic engineering project for installation of a medium-pressure fresh steam line as well as for installation of a sylvinite screen in the downstream of a Carnallite decomposition unit of a hot leaching plant. One of the challenging tasks was to define a process concept for processing of potash ore, which contains Carnallite, Sylvite and Rinneite as potash bearing mineral to a standard KCl 95 potash product (MOP). Moreover, I participated in an audit project as an inspector for a process of MOP production from sylvinite ore. In a basic engineering project for processing of polymineral and polyhalite ores into SOP product, I performed process evaluation and calculation. Not only process engineering works and management have been within my task, but also developing calculation models for designing of steam heat exchangers as well as for a liquid-liquid type of exchangers.
What I Love About My Job
My position and the tasks I fulfil at ERCOSPLAN enable me to work in a team and share knowledge with my colleagues at different departments. To gain international experience, work at interesting projects and having the possibility to develop my knowledge and abilities through demanding and innovative projects are what I like most about my job.
Mining and Geotechnical Engineer
My name is Maria, I am 30 years old, married, mother to a 1.5 year old daughter and graduated mining and geotechnical engineer.
I am a new employee in the mining department and joined the company only a few months ago. I was very warmly welcomed and immediately accepted into the team as a colleague, so I did never have the feeling of being an inexperienced newcomer.
After my induction, I immediately got involved in my first project, where I was able to support one of my most experienced colleague in the planning of a shaft sealing. In addition to the mine planning, all aspects of environmental, wildlife, water and landscape protection had to be considered as well. We also visited the project site to get a better understanding of the project and all related issues.
ERCOSPLAN Teamwork & Diversity of Tasks
During our daily team meetings we exchange information on all projects in progress and can also discuss our own project related issues with the team. I already noticed how diverse the scope of projects in the ERCOSPLAN mining department is. This ranges from conceptual designs, Basic and Detail Engineering, preparation of tender documents for sinking of new shafts or sealing of existing shaft, planning of new mine sections, mine workings or mine field parts, to final waste disposal and retrieval, up to preparation of documentations for approval procedures. And these are just some of the projects I was involved in during the beginning of my job.
Thanks to our international team, it is also easier for me to work with our foreign clients. In addition, we have the help of our in-house translators whenever necessary.
Exemplary Integration of New Employees
Working together across departments during project planning means working closely with the geology team and the mechanical engineering team. It is almost as if you are taken by the hand and led forward. I started out by drafting reports and annexes, then working on small tasks such as preparing presentations on specific topics. And now, after only a few months, I am preparing my first project report on my own.
Perfect Work & Life Balance
Before joining ERCOSPLAN, I worked for an explosives manufacturer and service provider as an engineer in operational blasting technology and manager of one of its underground storage and logistics division. This job is generally characterised by irregular working hours and frequent travel. In contrast, ERCOSPLAN offers flexible working hours and the opportunity of working from home, which is very valuable to me as a mother of a little daughter. I am already looking forward to my next project.
My Life before ERCOSPLAN
My name is Marie and I work as a Geoscientists at ERCOSPLAN. Before I joined the company, I was employed in an engineering office that mostly operates in the regional area and deals with matters relating to groundwater, contaminated sites and building ground. While working there, I was only able to apply some of the knowledge and skills I had acquired during my studies.
My Job at ERCOSPLAN
After joining ERCOSPLAN, a new and interesting work field opened up for me, which – in broader sense – is mainly related to the geology of salt deposits. From the very beginning a variety of work tasks were waiting for me. This also means, that my workplace is not only limited to the office and the analysis of documents but also involves classical field work and supervision of exploration works, both underground and surface. The projects I work for are not only located in Germany but also around the world. A big plus for a constructive teamwork is the relaxed and easy working atmosphere. This makes it easy to cope with the challenges of day-to-day work. In addition, I not only have the opportunity to develop myself further here but also to continue my education accordingly. In addition to my work, I can complete my part-time studies and directly contribute my newly acquired knowledge.
Most of the projects I am involved in are concerned with finding appropriate sites for final waste disposal – a topic that is up to date and very exciting. So far, the main focus has been and is now on the geological characterisation of the sites, especially the salt deposits. The area to be considered for waste disposal is located between the island of Rügen and the Upper Rhine Graben – between Münsterland and Lausitz – opening up opportunities to consider a wide range of geological aspects and regions.
Field work also plays an important role in my work, which includes, for example, the monitoring of drilling operations to explore new potash deposits in Germany. As we are currently working on projects not only in Germany but also abroad, I have the opportunity to be involved in a wide range of projects and, in best case, to provide on-site support. This combination of different tasks fully meets the expectations I had hoped for when I joined ERCOSPLAN.