If the European Parliament’s regulation on methane emissions were to enter into force in its current form – i.e., with the obligation to limit emissions to 5 tonnes of methane per 1,000 tonnes of coal – 2/3 of our company’s mines would have to be closed in 2030, said Tomasz Rogala, president of the Polish Mining Group (PGG) on TV Republika.
The president of the Polish Mining Group and Euracoal, Tomasz Rogala, estimated that introducing the EU regulation on methane emissions reduction in its proposed form would mean the closure of 7 PGG S.A. mines in 2027, followed by another two in 2031. According to him, 3 of today’s 12 production facilities owned by the company would remain, the last of which would produce coal until 2037.
“The regulation as it stands actually nullifies the social agreement signed less than two years ago with the social side representing tens of thousands of jobs in the mining industry alone. There is no point in agreeing on decarbonisation by 2049 and a slow transition away from coal when regulations are generally introduced through the back door which accelerates the closure of mines,” the president of PGG S.A. pointed out in an interview with Telewizja Republika.
The regulations as proposed introduce a standard of 5 t of methane per 1,000 t of extracted coal in 2027, and in 2031 it is 3 t of methane per 1,000 t of coal. Polish mines emit more – an average of 8 to 14 t of methane per 1,000 t of extracted coal, so they will be fined for exceeding the standards.
“The fines that are stipulated in the document are intended to be severe and deterrent. According to estimates, in the case of PGG S.A., we can expect an annual fee of approximately one and a half billion zlotys,” assessed the President of PGG S.A. Tomasz Rogala.
He pointed out that there are about 280 million cubic metres of methane in Polish mines, but 35% is already captured by de-methanation installations, and ultimately up to 45% of methane is to be captured.
Tomasz Rogala recalled that in times of crisis related to the war on Poland’s eastern border, coal was four times cheaper than imported coal, and Czechs and Germans were also looking for it. In his opinion, it is also necessary to consider the aspect related to safety, because if Polish mines have to be closed earlier, alternative energy sources will not be created in Poland in such a short time.
As a result, Poland will be condemned to importers, and coal will travel several thousand kilometres. The environmental effect, on the other hand, will be, in his opinion, that apart from higher methane emissions, because importers do not capture methane, there will also be pollution associated with transport.
“We at PGG S.A. and Euracoal will certainly strive to introduce amendments in the European Parliament which will raise the limits related to methane emissions to such an extent that the social agreement can be honoured so that the company can continue operating until 2049,” announced Tomasz Rogala, President of the Management Board of PGG S.A.
The European Parliament is scheduled to vote on methane emissions regulation in March.