‘We will not close Turów coal mine,’ Polish PM insists despite court order

FILE - An environmental activist holds a Polish flag by the Turów lignite coal mine near the town of Bogatynia, Poland, Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
By Thomas Brooke
3 Min Read

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has insisted the Turów coal mine located on the country’s southwest border with Czechia and Germany will remain open, defying a recent ruling made by the administrative court in Warsaw.

In a visit to the facility on Wednesday, the Polish leader vowed to resist any order to close the mine which is estimated to account for 8 percent of Poland’s energy supply.

Environmental groups including the Frank Bold Foundation, Greenpeace, and the EKO-UNIA Ecological Association, hailed their success earlier this week in acquiring a court order for mining operations at the facility to be suspended due to adverse impacts on the environment.

However, Morawiecki cut a defiant figure as he dismissed any notion that his administration would comply with the order.

“We will definitely not let this mine close, we will do everything to make it function normally until 2040,” Morawiecki told concerned workers in Bogatynia.

“No courts, whether from Brussels or Warsaw, will dictate to us what is meant by Poland’s energy security and the security of families.

“Once they tried to conquer Poland in the 18th century, and today they see that it is enough to control the elites, that the elites somewhere in Warsaw serve foreign interests,” he added.

The mine has long been a point of contention between Poland and neighboring Czechia. The matter was the subject of litigation in the European Court of Justice in 2021 after the Polish government approved an expansion to operations at the open-pit mine, despite Czechia complaining about the environmental impact this would have on Czech villages across the border.

The EU’s top court ordered Poland to suspend mining activity at the site and imposed a daily fine of €500,000 for every day the site remained open. Poland refused to pay the fine and allowed it to accrue to more than €68 million.

The dispute was eventually settled in February last year, with Poland paying €35 million in compensation to the Czech state and the Polish Energy Group transferring €10 million to the Liberec Region, which borders Poland.

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