Excavators dig lignite, also known as brown coal, at the Garzweiler open-pit mine outside Cologne on Nov. 19. Germany leads the world in lignite production, extracting 185 million tons in 2012, more than double the amount mined by second place producer Russia. Energy giant RWE, which operates the mine, issued a profit warning last week amid suggestions that the mine may be closed by 2018 because Germany's planned transition to renewable energy is rendering fossil fuel electricíty generation unprofitable.
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