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May 24, 2021

EU orders Poland to immediately stop Turów lignite mining operations

Poland is ordered by the European Union’s top court to immediately cease lignite extraction activities at the Turów coal mine.

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has ordered an immediate halt on lignite extraction activities at Poland’s Turów mine.

Located on the border with the Czech Republic and Germany, the mine is owned by Polska Grupa Energetyczna (PGE).

The ruling from the CJEU is a temporary measure until the final judgement on the complaint filed by the Czech Republic is made by the court.

The Czech Republic filed a lawsuit earlier this year at the CJEU, suing Poland for its six-year licence extension issued to the Turów mine in March 2020.

The country claims that the mine would threaten water sources for villages and damage communities on the Czech side.

In a press statement, the CJEU said: “It appears sufficiently likely that the continuation of lignite mining activities at the Turow mine before the final judgment is delivered is likely to have negative effects on the level of groundwater in Czech territory.”

However, contending the order, PGE said that it cannot agree to the closure of the mine as it would result in a shutdown of the power plant, which serves 3.7 million homes.

PGE president Wojciech Dąbrowski said: “The Turów lignite mine has a valid, legally issued licence and on that basis, mining is and will be carried out. The CJEU’s decision is a path to a ‘grim deal’ energy transformation.

“This is the first real test of the European Green Deal, that supposed to be based on solidarity and just energy transition and not a programme supporting the unjust competition.”

Separately, reports emerged that a fire affected a conveyer belt at Poland’s Belchatow mine, which is claimed to have large reserves of lignite or brown coal.

Although the fire has been extinguished by the firefighting teams, one unit at the power plant linked with the Belchatow mine has been closed, reported The Associated Press.

This is due to the disruption in lignite deliveries to the unit caused by the fire. The incident did not result in casualties, added the report.

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