The Czech government announced on Monday that it intended to seize European justice to contest the extension of a coal mine in Poland, near its border, and to demand the cessation of the exploitation of this mine. According to the Foreign Ministry, this open-cast mine has a negative impact on the environment of border regions, where residents complain about noise, dust and lack of water.
The Czech Foreign Minister has indicated that he intends to appeal to the Court of Justice of the European Union between the end of February and the beginning of March, hoping for a verdict within a year. “I have long sought to resolve this dispute without going to justice,” he explains in a statement, adding that he would ask for the preventive closure of the mine until the decision is rendered.
A gradual closure by 2049
The Turow mine, active since 1904, is located in southwestern Poland, on the border of the Czech Republic and Germany, which also complains. The public energy group PGE, which owns and operates the mine, plans to extract coal until 2044 and wants to expand it from 25 to 30 square kilometers.
Despite protests from the Czech Republic and Germany, the Polish government has renewed the operating license for Turow for six years in 2020. The European Commission estimated in December that Poland had misjudged the mine’s environmental impact and misinformed its neighbors about its plans.
She added, however, that Prague’s complaints about the mine’s impact on drinking water supplies were unfounded. Dependent on coal for about 80% of its electricity and with some 80,000 jobs in the mining sector, Poland plans to phase out its mines by 2049.