The Czech Republic plans to file a statement of disapproval concerning the planned expansion of the Polish Turów lignite mine near the Czech border, Environment Minister Richard Brabec (ANO) announced.
The Polish Turów mine supplies coal mainly to a neighboring power plant owned by the PGE Group, which also owns the mine. The PGE Group wants to continue coal mining at the location until 2044.
Under the current proposal, the mine would be expanded up to 30 square kilometers, and the company plans to mine to a depth of 330 meters below the level of the surrounding terrain. The mine is to extend along the road from Zittau to Bogatynia.
People living near the border, however, are afraid that the expansion could result in contamination of drinking water and other environmental hazards.
The Czech government decided to support the position of Czech citizens living in the border region. Although the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context does not give states the possibility to express their direct consent or disagreement with the intention of a neighboring state, the Czech government decided to do so.
Besides simply expressing its opposition, the Czech Republic may also impose conditions relating to water, air protection, and anti-noise measures in case the Polish side decides to expand the mine.
According to Environment Minister Richard Brabec, tens of thousands of Czech citizens are at risk of losing clean water and face a reduced quality of life. The Czech side, therefore, considers it crucial to ensure that water resources are not endangered.
The Czech government is also pushing for a sealing wall, which should be built in the mine, and a barrier against dust and noise.
The Polish General Directorate for Environmental Protection is to decide on the expansion of the Turów mine by issuing a final opinion on the investor’s intention. The Czech government said it does not yet know when the final decision on the mine expansion would be announced from the Polish side.