Polish delegation heads for Czech Republic to discuss contested mine deal

A Polish delegation will travel to the Czech Republic this week to determine the final details of the agreement on the Turow lignite mine, ordered by the EU’s top court to close after a Czech environmental complaint, the government spokesperson Piotr Müller said.

The government spokesperson said that the delegation would consist of several ministers, in the hope of speeding up the negotiation process.

An agreement on the matter could prompt the Czechs to withdraw the environmental impact complaint it lodged with the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).

In February this year, the Czech authorities referred the case of the Turów lignite mine to the CJEU. In their opinion, the expansion of the mine threatens, inter alia, access to water in the region. In May, the CJEU ordered the mining operations to be stopped immediately as a precautionary measure.

Poland has so far refused to shut down Turow, calling the court's decision "disproportionate" and a threat to the stability of the country's energy system.

The Czech Environment Minister Richard Brabec announced on Monday that The Czech Republic sent an intergovernmental draft agreement regarding the Turów lignite mine. The agreement, the details of which have not been disclosed, contain the conditions set by the Czech Republic to close the dispute amicably.

Details of the draft agreement sent to Warsaw have not been disclosed. According to earlier declarations, Poland will be obliged to cover the costs of building and strengthening existing water sources in the vicinity of the cities of Frydlant and Hradek near the Nysa river. Also, Poland would have to provide all information on the environmental impact of the lignite mine and host Czech inspectors.

The Turow open-cast mine provides fuel for a nearby power plant, the two enterprises employ over 1000 people as well as provide electricity to millions of Polish homes.