Poland temporarily closes 12 mines to stop coronavirus spread


Photo by praszkiewicz / Shutterstock.com

Poland was due to close two coal mines owned by state-run JSW and 10 mines of PGG group yesterday (Tuesday, June 9) for three weeks to stop the spread of coronavirus among miners, Deputy Prime Minister Jacek Sasin said, Polish Radio reported.

File photo shows miners at the KWK Budryk mine in Omontowice, Silesia, Poland, on February 3, 2015. Photo by praszkiewicz / Shutterstock.com

Miners account for almost 20% of recorded coronavirus cases in the country, which generates most of its electricity from coal.

“Starting tomorrow, we will suspend work in two mines operated by the Jastrzębska Coal Company and in 10 mines run the Polish Mining Group,” Sasin, who also serves as minister for state assets, announced on Monday.

Speaking at a joint news conference with Health Minister Łukasz Szumowski and Chief Sanitary Inspector Jarosław Pinkas, Sasin said that miners would receive 100% of their pay during the shutdown, which is expected to last three weeks.

Over the weekend, the Polish Health Ministry reported a total of 1,151 new Covid-19 virus infections, including 676 in the southern Silesia coal region.

“Such action is needed to eventually quell these epidemic outbreaks,” Sasin said. The state assets ministry said the Knurów-Szczygłowice and Budryk mines, which produce mostly thermal coal, would be the two JSW mines to close, Polish Radio added.

According to Wikipedia, Budryk (320 km southwest of the capital, Warsaw) has one of the largest coal reserves in Poland with estimated reserves of 235.5 million tonnes of coal in October 2019. Annual coal production is around five million tonnes. 

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