Matthias Hartung is an expert in lignite extraction and power generation. In 1981 he started his career as an engineer at the opencast mine in the Rheinish Area. He worked for two years in Indonesia as an engineer before taking the job as provisional Head of Departement in another opencast mine of Rheinbraun, one of the predecassors of RWE. After many postings including a period at the Departement of Opencast Mine Planning, Matthias Hartung became Head of Departement in Plant Operation Engineering and Environmental Protection. From 1994 to 2004 he was Vice President of Opencast Mine Planning and Approval. As a board member of RWE Power he was responsible for Lignite Mining, Upgrading and Lignite-Based Power Generation from 2004 up to 2010.
Matthias Hartung is also board member of DEBRIV, the federal german association of all lignite producing companies and their affiliated organisations.