The Polish Government is reportedly planning to raise domestic coal production by around 10% over the next several years in an effort to reduce the country’s reliance on imports.

The government is embarking on the move as its imports are poised to jump to a record this year, Bloomberg reported.

Based on data available with state-controlled trader Weglokoks, coal imports, mostly from Russia, are set to rise to 17 million tonnes this year from 13.3 million tonnes last year.

The country, which is the biggest coal producer in the European Union, saw a 7% reduction in its thermal coal to 53 million tonnes last year.

Poland Deputy Energy Minister Grzegorz Tobiszowski stated that the country should ramp up output by five to six million tonnes by 2025.

Tobiszowski was quoted by the news agency as saying: “High import means there’s a big market for coal in Poland. Import is important, but we want to replace part of it, as current levels are worrisome.”

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By GlobalData

Poland had previously pledged to increase the share of renewables, gas-fired and nuclear power capacity in its overall energy basket, while reducing the share of coal to 50% in 2040 from the existing level of 80%.

Tobiszowski argued that the government is not planning to completely wipe out coal as part of its shift to environmentally friendly sources of energy.

“Import is important, but we want to replace part of it, as current levels are worrisome.”

He noted that the latest move to raise coal production is not against the government’s sustainability plan and that it will enable the country to curb imports and meet rising demand for electricity.

According to Tobiszowski, Lubelski Wegiel Bogdanka, which is controlled by state-run utility Enea, is expected to increase coal production by as much as two million tonnes in two years from about nine million tonnes.

Polska Grupa Górnicza (PGG), which is said to be the EU’s largest coal producer, will need more time to raise output by nearly four million tonnes from existing 31 million tonnes, he added.

The government is calling for greater participation from private mining investors, including Australia’s Prairie Mining, which runs a coal mine project near Bogdanka, as well as coking coal producer JSW in its plans to step up production.