Poland's PGG says coal mine closure plan unlikely to change despite EU climate targets

2 minute read

General view of Wujek Coal Mine is seen during sunset in Katowice, Poland October 16, 2108. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/File Photo

Register now for FREE unlimited access to reuters.com

WARSAW, Jan 13 (Reuters) - Poland's PGG does not expect to change its timetable that envisages closing its coal mines by 2049 despite tougher European Union climate targets agreed in December, the state-owned company's boss said on Wednesday.

Coal trade unions, the government and PGG representatives held a new round of talks on Wednesday to discuss PGG's timetable that aims to gradually shut all its mines by mid-century. PGG's scheme was initially agreed in September.

Poland, one of Europe's biggest producers of coal, which is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, relies on the fuel for almost 80% of its electricity production.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to reuters.com

"Tightening the EU's emission reduction targets to 55% does not affect this timetable, although I am aware that there are public concerns that due to pressure from the EU this plan may accelerate," PGG Chief Executive Tomasz Rogala told Reuters.

Leaders of the EU's 27 member states agreed to cut net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% from 1990 levels by 2030, toughening an existing 40% target.

Speaking shortly before Wednesday's talks, Rogala said PGG's mine closure plan still needed approval from the European Commission, which critics say will be difficult to secure.

He said it would be optimal if the Commission's position was known in the first half of 2021.

A Polish official said in October that talks with the Commission seeking approval for PGG's plan would start "within days". But it is not clear if Poland has formally sought approval.

PGG reported a net loss of around 2 billion zlotys ($538 million) in 2020. Rogala said he expected this year's output to be about 24 million tonnes.

($1 = 3.7182 zlotys)

Register now for FREE unlimited access to reuters.com
Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko; Editing by Edmund Blair

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

More from Reuters