ELECTION FEVER: POLITICIANS ON COAL #1

Still incumbent (most probably: soon to be replaced) Polish government decided to allocate 900 million PLN for further restructure of mining sector in the budget for 2016. Considering 1.5 billion PLN needed for rescuing one single Kompania Węglowa, amount provided by Minister of Finance Mateusz Szczurek (PO) for entire, barely breathing industry seems like pious hopes.

Meanwhile Minister of Economy, Janusz Piechociński (PSL) declared that coal will be the dominant element of Polish energy mix at least until 2050, but if Poland is planning to keep its energy security, mining sector should stay on the track of restructure and decreasing costs of production. Piechociński highlighted also problem of poor quality coal that was leaving Silesian mines in recent years and urged Polish mines to focus on producing high quality steam coal that will compete with coal from Australia and South Africa.

Coal-based energy security was also mentioned by President Andrzej Duda (PiS). The President pointed out that EU energy map is a large battlefield of different economical and industrial interests, in great majority hostile to coal. As far as he appreciate European policy towards ecology and emissions reduction, Andrzej Duda stated that Poland will stick to coal as its main energy fuel.

Even strongest statement came from Beata Szydło (also PiS), foreseen Polish Prime Minister after 25th October. Investments in Polish mining sector, bright future for coal-based energy production (new coal energy blocks) and even supporting foreign companies planning to open mining operations in Poland (if serious) – all that is promised today by the most-probable winner of incoming election. PiS is also declaring disengagement from MoT other involved institutions separate Ministry of Energy, that could conduct its tasks taking into consideration only interests of energy sector.

Far end of Polish political spectrum decide to raise social issues. Zbigniew Zaborowski and Tomasz Kalita (SLD/ZL) declared that retired miners should get back their right to receive monthly coal allowances, which was taken from them at the beginning of 2015. Kalita calculated that annual cost of reinstatement coal allowances will cost around 200-300 million PLN.

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