EEC 2019

"As a result of reforms introduced in the past two years, nobody asks today whether we need Polish coal and mines. The emphasis has shifted to our vision for the coal sector and the prospects that Polish coal mining will become stable, efficient, safe and effective", said Grzegorz Tobiszowski, Deputy Minister of Energy, Government's Plenipotentiary for Coal Mining Reform, at the European Economic Congress in Katowice.

  • The Deputy Minister announced that the government is about to adopt a new programme for the brown coal sector.
  • A similar strategic document for black coal was adopted at the beginning of this year.
  • "By supporting Polish coal mining, we increase the competitive edge of the national economy", Grzegorz Tobiszowski said during a panel entitled "Polish coal – perspective 2030" at the European Economic Congress.

"We have prepared these plans to ensure the energy security of Poland", he added.

In his view, by supporting Polish mining, we increase the competitive edge of the national economy; the energy sector is able to buy cheaper domestic coal, which directly translates into tangible savings and lower energy prices.

"The Polish energy sector saves a lot of money thanks to cheaper domestic coal; this just pays off in terms of business", Tobiszowski said, adding that Polish coal makes electricity in our homes cheaper, because the energy sector sustains lower costs. Coal, he argued, is not to blame for the current rise in energy prices.

The Deputy Minister emphasized that in accordance with the government programme, the volume of coal slated for the Polish energy sector in the long-term perspective should remain at more or less the same level as today, i.e. 65 million tons. Managers of coal companies, however, must be able to rise to the challenge. They will find it much easier to design tasks if they know the long-term demand for coal.

The black coal sector, he said, wants to be treated as a business industry, as evidenced by the high taxes that it pays today. Financial reserves are also being made as a safety net for the thin years of downturn in the coal sector.

Yes for brown coal

The Deputy Minister also reassured the audience that brown coal will continue to play an important role in the current and the future energy mix.

"The government is about to adopt a multi-year program for the brown coal sector", the Deputy Minister said. "The plan will bring the sector back to life; before, nobody thought it had any prospects".

He announced that exploitation of the Złoczew deposits may start this December or at the beginning of 2019. Talks are also underway about the open pits of Ościsłowo.

Tobiszowski also underscored the role of innovation and efficient management that would make mining companies more resilient in the event of a future downturn. A good example, he said, is the Jastrzębska Spółka Węglowa with its 1.5 billion stabilization fund. He also talked about the activity of Polish mining companies abroad, e.g. in India.

The presentation by the Deputy Minister at the European Economic Congress was preceded by a minute’s silence for five miners who died in the tragic rock burst in the Zofiówka mine in Jastrzębie-Zdrój on 5 May. Directly from the Congress, Tobiszowski travelled to Zofiówka to take part in the rescue attempts that have already gone on for 11 days under extreme underground conditions.

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