Polish court allows Turow coal mine to stay open for now

A Polish coal mine near the Czech border will be able to continue operating for now, following the latest in a series of contradictory court rulings.

After a long battle between the mine and environmentalists, the Turów mine has been allowed to operate under a temporary concession.

“The decision of the Voivodship Administrative Court does not mean that the Turow energy complex will not be able to continue supplying electricity,” said Andra Apanasionek, press officer PGE GiEK S.A.

“The Turow mine is very carefully fulfilling its obligations under the environmental decision issued by the General Director for Environmental Protection, implementing a range of investments and environmental measures aimed at reducing the impact of the mine on the surrounding area.”

Jobs for miners

Meanwhile, some miners are trying to secure their future and train in other professions such as the green energy sector and wind farms.

“I am looking to secure an alternative in case my mine closes so that I can have a smooth transition to another industry. It’s not too much of a problem because the work is similar. Here, on the windmills, we also have to deal with large machines. The danger is the height,” said Marcin Potempa, a miner undergoing re-training.

Wind farms are gaining popularity in Poland and across Europe as this cheap raw material can help ensure energy security.

“To achieve energy independence, we need to put up around 30 gigawatts a year of energy across the European Union,” said Artur Ambrozewicz, CEO at Vulcan Training & Consultancy.

“This is a huge project which – as “Wind Europe” predicts – will require the employment of around half a million people throughout Europe in the whole supply chain.”

Politics of green transition

Experts stress that the green transition, so important for climate reasons, is also a complex political operation in terms of politics:

“Silesia is a region that has quite strong autonomous tendencies, so in the long term it is a task with major responsibility for the Polish government to manage this process correctly,” said Sonia Sobczyk-Grygiel, energy expert at Polityka Insight.

As the inhabitants of Silesia represent over 12 per cent of Poland’s population, it is not only a huge human resource for industry, but also an important political capital.

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