By Aleksandra Krzysztoszek
November 9, 2022 - Poland is forced to slow down the process of closing coal mines but will not withdraw from its plans to close all its mines by 2049, announced Polish State Assets Minister Jacek Sasin.
The end date for the functioning of the mines remains in place, but “the curve [of shutting the mines down] would be flattened” compared to the initial plans, the minister told right-wing weekly Sieci.
“We cannot get dependent on imported coal that is much more expensive than ours. Therefore, we need to delay closing the mines,” Sasin said.
Poland has recently announced cooperation with US and South Korea companies on nuclear projects. According to the government’s plan, the country’s first nuclear power plant should be completed in 2033.
However, no operational coal mines may be closed until the first reactor is launched, said Sasin.
The coal extraction will be slightly higher in the coming months than it was in the previous years, he declared, since the import of coal has already reached the maximum capacity of the ports.
The amount of coal that can be used for heating houses should cover the needs of Polish households, according to the minister.
“I would prefer it to be too much than too little,” he said.
Hard coal was used by one-third of Polish households as the main fuel for heating in 2018, data by Statistics Poland shows.
To mitigate the consequences of rising coal prices, the government has distributed a one-time subsidy worth 3,000 zlotys (€642) to all households that filed applications and proved that they possess coal stoves.