Most, North Bohemia, June 25 (CTK) – Environment Minister Richard Brabec (ANO) has not heard of any public interest saying that the energy security of the Czech Republic is threatened without the coal from the CSA mine, he said during his visit to the CSA and Bilina mines in the Most coal mining area Thursday.
The lifting of the coal mining limits for Bilina is an extreme alternative, Brabec said after talks with the managements of the mining firms.
He said he cannot imagine that he would change his mind on the operation of the CSA mine.
The Czech government should decide on the possible lifting of coal mining limits by August 31.
Industry and Trade Minister Jan Mladek (Social Democrats, CSSD) has proposed four scenarios of further development: the complete lifting of the limits, maintaining of the limits, lifting of the limits for the Bilina mine and partly for the CSA mine, or lifting for Bilina only.
“If the government decided that the limits would not be lifted or that they would be lifted only partially, we should say what we were going to offer to the region,” Brabec said.
Mladek’s ministry has ordered studies on the socio-economic and environmental impacts of the mining.
A study worked out for the Finance Ministry recommends that coal should be mined beyond the limits in Bilina only.
Brabec said the partial lifting of the limits does not seem economically advantageous to him.
He said he would wait for the results of the studies ordered by Mladek’s ministry.
If the limits were lifted completely, the small town of Horni Jiretin would have to be demolished.
Mining beyond the limits in the Bilina mine and partly in the CSA mine would mean pulling down 170 houses in Horni Jiretin. The locals and environmentalists support the preservation of the limits set on the mining of brown coal in northern Bohemia by the government in 1991.
The lifting of the limits has been supported by the mining firms, heating plants and their trade unions.
A study by Vupek Economy concluded that the complete lifting of the limits is necessary if all the needs of the customers are to be met. This study is now being examined, Brabec said.
The Severoceske doly mining firm is preparing for the lifting of the limits.
If about 50 million tonnes of coal could be mined after 2020, this would secure jobs for the firm’s 3000 employees until 2055, Severoceske doly director Ivo Pegrimek said.
The Severni energeticka mining firm would have to end if the limits were not lifted.
“It is a rather difficult situation for the region to cope with so many unemployed,” Severni energeticka director Petr Kolman said.