The Interior Ministry of Brandenburg reported that roughly 187 pounds of ammunition have been recovered on almost 60 hectares of land in the Grunheide forest where Tesla will build the Gigafactory 4, the company’s first car factory in Europe and the second outside the United States.
Authorities estimate that there are 220 bomb craters on the build site where they might recover about 25 unexploded bombs from the World War II era, according to a report by WBOC.
While the construction of access roads to the Gigafactory 4 site continues, the area has been declared as restricted to local explorers. The Grunheide forest is now off-limits to non-personnel as a safety measure while work is going on and while the clearing team scans for unexploded WWII explosives.
The clearing operation started earlier this month when the team and authorities learned that there could be vintage bombs where Gigafactory 4 will rise.
“It turned out (…) that contrary to original expectations, World War II ammunition is suspected on the site – specifically American aviation bombs,” said Environment Minister Axel Vogel.
Tesla’s top priority is to first clear a 90-hectare parcel of the property that will be used for the initial stage of the build. The team wants to clear the area of vintage bombs, cut off trees, and move animals from the forest by Feb.27 because March is when the mating season of birds in the forest begins and when cutting of trees is prohibited.
Tesla plans to begin construction of the GF4 by mid-March and aim to start vehicle production by July 2021. The factory will create about 8,000 jobs for locals and nearby countries and will produce 150,000 vehicles during its initial phase.
Earlier this week, a Tesla spokesperson confirmed that the board of directors of the Palo Alto, California-based electric car manufacturer approved the purchase agreement for the 300-hectare property in Grunheide. The initial price for the expansive man-made forest was set at 40.91 million euros or roughly $45 million but the state government is still waiting for a report from an independent firm that will re-assess the value of the land. Tesla and the Brandenburg government have agreed to revise the price of the Gigafactory 4 lot if the second appraisal finds the first one too low. The initial deal puts the pricing of the industrial land at just 13.5 euros per square meter, or just about a third of nearby properties.
Aside from vintage bombs, Tesla is also dealing with local protesters who are concerned about the water consumption of the Tesla car factory and its effect on their water supply. The electric car manufacturer has set up an information center to deal with these concerns. There are also local Tesla supporters who try to convince the community about the benefits the Gigafactory 4 will bring to Grunheide and their families.