April 27, 2020 / 12:16 PM / a month ago

Poland's biggest coal group shuts two mines until Sunday due to epidemic

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland’s biggest coal group, state-run PGG, has temporarily closed two of its mines due to the spread of the new coronavirus among the miners, it said on Monday.

Poland, which generates most of its electricity from coal, has confirmed 11,761 coronavirus cases, including 539 deaths.

PGG, which employs around 40,000 people and produces almost 30 million tonnes of coal annually in eight mines in southern Poland, said that it had confirmed 38 coronavirus cases in the Murcki-Staszic mine in Katowice and 32 cases in the Jankowice mine in Rybnik.

Since most workers at the two mines are now quarantined at home, PGG has decided to close them until May 3.

State-run JSW, the European Union’s biggest coking coal producer, also said on Monday that it had identified a case of the coronavirus among its workers.

The Polish coal mining sector, which provides 83,000 jobs, has faced financial difficulties due to falling demand for coal, with trade unions expecting job and pay guarantees after the crisis.

Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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