During the turmoil in coal producing sector in the first half of 2015 political commentators were pointing at another Australian coal-mining project in Poland. Public opinion was on one hand stormed with news about unprofitable and bankrupting Silesian mining sector, and on the other informed about promising private initiative of Australian company Balamara, trying to restore mining activities in Nowa Ruda mine in Lower Silesian Coal Basin (DZW) and producing annually around 2.5 million tonnes of coking coal.
Nowa Ruda mine was shut down in 1992 and after two years became a local museum. Australian investor, using Polish company Coal Holding plans to re-open the facility in two-three years. The plan is very ambitious, if not risky: the mine was closed due to extremely hard mining conditions. Company announced, that restoration of the Nowa Ruda mine will require investing 150 million. So far nobody knows where Balamara Resources will find that money, since the company, listed on Australian stock is in total worth that exact amount. What is more, in 2012 the company was hit with 27 million PLN loss.
Balamara’s concept is strikingly similar to PD Co’s project in LZW. Both companies are represented in Poland by two Australian businessmen of Polish origin. Both projects are based in the regions struggling with large unemployment and underdevelopment and therefore already received strong support from the local authorities, since both plans to create around 2,000 jobs. It is necessary to ask the questions: is Balamara following unofficial PD Co’s strategy to sell the project to one of the local mining groups (presumably JSW), or are they inspired by ZG Siltech story, which in 2002 re-opened Pstrowski mine and since then is running small-time but profitable operations, producing around 200,000 tonnes per year?
The next three Australian companies with involvement in mining in Poland (Linc Energy, Wildhorse Energy and Spółka Węglowa Lublin) are too small and too mysterious to make any constructive opinion on their activities. First one is planning to develop underground coal gasification in Silesia, second thinks that opening a mine next to Siersza power plant will give them exclusiveness for deliveries (despite the fact, that Tauron’s facility will probably be shut down in next few years).
Meanwhile, after the first article on Australians mining activities in Poland, PD Co again went public with their plans for Lublin Coal Project. Or rather dreams, since their plan to sell low-cost high quality Polish coal to EU countries sounds more like a delusion…