EURACOAL notes the decision taken by the Vice-President of the Court of Justice of the European Union to order, as an interim measure, the suspension of lignite extraction at Turów mine in Poland – a surface mine established in 1904 which today lies close to the Czech and German borders.
EURACOAL stresses that, according to the Treaty, it is the right of each member state to choose its energy mix and determine the conditions for exploiting its energy resources. At the same time, it is necessary to comply with all applicable EU environmental laws, including those relating to environmental impact assessment (EIA). The Court must now determine, in its final judgement, whether Polish law, in particular the Environmental Information Act and EIA process, is compliant in this respect. As part of its social responsibility, every mining company is obliged to communicate information and consult with those affected by its activities.
EURACOAL points out that the temporary cessation of a lignite mine in general and of the Turów mine in particular does not in itself solve the issue of urgent concern, namely water management, as pumping must continue during any idle period to protect the structural integrity of a mine. Moreover, a definitive closure of Turów mine at short notice entails significant environmental, social, technical and national security risks. Implementation of proper solutions for such challenges are of crucial importance to avoid consequences of an irreparable nature.
Settlement of this dispute between the Czech Republic and Poland over the operation of Turów is essentially a national matter. EURACOAL hopes that a resolution can be reached swiftly, having regard to EU law and the affected municipalities in the Czech Republic, Germany and Poland.