Kaolin's 100th Anniversary, in the last 10 years the German owners invest every cent back


100 years of "Kaolin"! What a day! This century includes the achievements of many generations, marked by enterprise, courage, zeal, desire to make something happen. This is how Robert Lindemann-Berk, the managing partner in the "Quarzwerke" parent company and the chairman of the supervisory board of "Kaolin", opened the celebration of the oldest mining enterprise in our country. It was a double celebration, since in addition to the centenary of the Bulgarian company, it was also 10 years since the entry of the family German company as the owner of "Kaolin".

“We have many goals to achieve, but we have arrived at the right place. Bulgaria is a wonderful country, we were inspired by the cordiality with which they welcomed us. But let's not be fooled, Bulgaria is also a country in which you never get anything for free” – Mr. Lindemann-Berk also said and has added: “We had to overcome many obstacles, sometimes we even had doubts. The fact that we are here now is because of you, the people who helped us on this thorny path”.

The former president Rosen Plevneliev (2012-2017), Minister of Education Prof. Dr. Sasho Penov, Deputy Minister of Energy Elenko Bozhkov, Chairwoman of the GERB parliamentary group Desislava Atanasova – all were guests at the celebration for the 100th anniversary of “Kaolin”; many MPs from all parliamentary groups; Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Bulgaria’s leader Plamen Dimitrov; the German ambassador to our country, Mrs. Irene Plank, was also at the celebration, supporting her fellow nationals.

Friends from the Bulgarian Chamber of Mining and Geology were also here - its honorary chairman Prof. Dr. Nikolay Valkanov and its new chairman Dragomir Draganov, as well as colleagues from the mining industry. Tim Kurth, the president of the German-Bulgarian Chamber of Industry and Commerce, also congratulated the company, which is part of German investments in Bulgaria.

Guests were also customers of "Kaolin"- "large industrial enterprises that have been with us even in the most difficult times", emphasized Mr. Lindemann-Berk.

The most honored guest was Mrs. Vanya Atanasova, the daughter of one of the founders of "Kaolin" - Krastyo Atanasov.

This gave Mr. Lindemann-Berk a reason to go back 100 years  in his speech - when the two brothers, Krastyo and Boris Atanasovi discovered, almost as in a novel of Jack London, the white gold of Dobruja – the quartz sand and kaolin. Thus, on May 6th, 1923, they founded the company. With it, young and brave men started the kaolin industry in Bulgaria.

The current owner made an analogy with his great-grandfather, who in 1905 started the development of kaolin deposits in Germany, which were known since Roman times.

Mr. Lindemann-Berk also went back in time to 2013, when the German company acquired “Kaolin”. “Since then, we have reinvested every earned cent in the enterprise. And something that is very close to my heart is the dual education center in Vetovo town. Yesterday we counted again how many people have graduated from this center, they were already about 200 young people who got a great start in their professional life.”- he spoke.

It was the dual education that made the Minister of Education, Prof. Dr. Sasho Penov, such an important guest at the anniversary.

“The company invested BGN 1 million. In 2016, they had 13 students, now there are 95 in the 12th grade. From the 8th to the 12th grade, they study and do internships and also work. There are many opportunities in city of Varna, but in Vetovo town, region of Ruse, to hold several professional classes and for people to see that their children have skills and find work is another thing. This is a good example of the development of the dual education, with great care for the children”, the minister commented to "24 chasa" newspaper.

“Nowadays, it is not at all easy to talk about the future, because we are exposed to various external influences that we could not foresee. To name only a few of them: the war between Russia and Ukraine has led to significant fluctuations in electricity prices and major geopolitical shifts”, noted Dr. Wolf Harlfinger, CEO of “Kaolin”. He admitted that his next words would not go down well with the partners, who might want to get their dividends at some point.

„What we have done is only one of the first steps. We want to grow here, in Bulgaria, we want to continue investing here“, he assured and continued by outlining the company’s priorities:

- to guarantee the safety of raw materials;

- the implementation of our project in Dulovo (it prognosticates the development of two deposits and a plant, and the largest single investment in the history of "Quarzwerke");

- investments in renewable energy; the first step has been taken with the photovoltaic park in Vetovo town;

- investments in the education of young people, in our future workers and the employees;

On the one hand we will not change, we will remain as we are, we perceive ourselves as as a pillar of society. Our task is much more than paying salaries. Where we work, we want to create a nice, pleasant environment for our workers, their families, and for everyone else as well,” said the CEO and he continued by thanking the partners, who made this unique development possible in the last 10 years.

Dr. Wolf Harlfinger also outlined a path for the decarbonization of production, as well as the transition to a circular economy.

The honorary chairman of the Bulgarian Chamber of Mining and Geology, Mr. Nikolay Valkanov, congratulated his colleagues on the anniversary and said that "Kaolin" is perhaps the oldest company in our country, but it has also found the right investor to develop itself. On behalf of the chamber, Mr. Valkanov presented the company with a replica of a vessel from the Panagyurishte Golden Treasure.

The German ambassador, Ms. Irene Plank, congratulated "Kaolin" for presenting and developing the German dual education model to the school in Vetovo town. Since the areas where the "Kaolin" deposits are located have a mixed population, including Bulgarian citizens of Turkish origin, she also underlined the meaning of the equality, which is an important topic for Germany and Bulgaria.

The ambassador also said that she carefully monitors the carbon footprint left by German investors in Bulgaria and congratulated "Kaolin" for the construction of the solar park and for the decarbonisation steps taken.

The celebration also honored Bishop Tikhon.

One of the most exciting experiences of the Thursday’s evening was the piano performances of the twins Hassan and Ibrahim Ignatovi. Their talent is indisputable, but another reason why the young people fit into the celebration quite naturally is that their mother’s home town is Kaolinovo and she works in the company.

Appeared at the end the big star of the evening – the famous pop-singer Vasil Naydenov, who’s favorite songs put the party to end.