Poland’s Supreme Administrative Court has annulled an earlier judgement made by the lower court to suspend environmental approval of the contentious Turow open-pit coal mine.

In its judgement passed last month, a Warsaw provincial administrative court ruled that the mine located close to the border with the Czech Republic and Germany be shuttered by the end of 2026. 

The Polish Government responded by saying that it would oppose attempts to close the mine that generates local employment and provides energy security, producing nearly 8% of the country’s energy.

Calling the previous ruling “illegal”, Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that the decision was made in a closed session, depending only on arguments presented by green activists.

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By GlobalData

The Supreme Administrative Court has now deemed the lower court ruling as “defective”.

It highlighted that the lower court should have considered the interests of other parties involved including the general public, reported Telewizja Polska.

Mine owner PGE stated that the environmental decision was the result of a multi-stage environmental impact assessment procedure where an extensive report was prepared.

The Polish state-run power company further claims to have conducted a cross-border public consultation.

After the consultation, protocols of arrangements were reached with the Czech Republic and Germany. During the consultation, the impact on each component of the environment was evaluated and actions to curb the adverse impact were highlighted, PGE added.

In March 2020, Turow had its licence extended until 2026 despite an outcry from environmental groups over its negative impact on groundwater levels.

In May 2021, the Court of Justice of the EU ordered an immediate pause on the mine’s lignite extraction activities, soon after the Czech Republic sued Poland for the licence extension.

Ignoring this order resulted in Poland facing daily fines of €500,000. The dispute was settled in February 2022, with Poland consenting to pay €45m in damages to the Czech Republic.

However, Poland again authorised the extension of the mine’s licence until 2044, when its coal reserves are projected to be depleted.