Poland closes 12 coal mines to curb spread of coronavirus among miners
Poland will close two coal mines owned by state-run JSW and ten mines from PGG group on Tuesday for three weeks to stop the spread of the new coronavirus among miners, Deputy Prime Minister Jacek Sasin said on Monday.
Poland has reported rapid growth in the number of coronavirus cases among miners, with the coal region in the south of the country recording the highest number of infections. Currently coal miners account for almost 20% of all coronavirus cases in Poland, the state-run news agency PAP said.
"Such action is needed to eventually quell these epidemic outbreaks," Sasin told a news conference. He added that the miners would receive 100% pay for around three weeks and that there was no threat to coal deliveries.
Shares in JSW, which is the European Union's biggest coking coal producer, slumped by 10% on the news. The company said in a statement on Monday that it has reported a total of 2,771 coronavirus cases, mostly at the Pniówek and Zofiówka mines.
Spokesmen at JSW and PGG were not immediately available to comment. It was unclear which coal mines were set to close. JSW and PGG employ around 20,000 and 40,000 people respectively.
The coronavirus pandemic has added to the financial difficulties facing Polish coal mines, which were already struggling with falling demand, low prices and rising stockpiles before the outbreak. The government has said it will announce a restructuring plan for the industry in the coming weeks.
Sources told Reuters that Poland is considering closing at least three coal mines permanently in the coming months, as the pandemic forces it to accelerate its exit from the sector. PGG can afford to pay out salaries until July, its chief executive said.
Źródło: TVN24 News in English, Reuters
Źródło zdjęcia głównego: TVN24