The facilities, which employ a total of 15,000 people, incurred an average loss of PLN 87 (EUR 20) per tonne, compared to the sector’s median standing at PLN 27 (EUR 6), the paper’s calculations show.
Audits carried out nationwide have pinpointed a list of coal mines that either have little prospect for a return on investment due to factors such as geological conditions that hamper extraction or pose a threat to the safety of the miners, and ones where resources are running out, the paper said.
The cost of liquidating facilities suffering the greatest financial woes may cost the state between PLN 1.5 – 2 mln (EUR 0.34 – 0.46) – the expenditure could, however, be stretched over several years, the paper writes.
The daily lists the Krupiński mine, part of the Jastrzębska Coal Company (JSW), as one among those facing the bleakest prospects.
It has run up losses of some PLN 1 bn (EUR 0.2 bn) over the past ten years. This year, the mine is PLN 200 mln in the red, which translates to a loss of PLN 100 per tonne.
A report by think-tank WiseEuropa concluded that if Poland’s mining sector underwent restructuring in 2016-2018, shored up by EU-approved state aid for closing down facilities, the costs of extraction could be lowered significantly, the paper reported.
In 2015, labour costs in the sector reached PLN 84,000 per person per year, while other costs reached PLN 113,000 per tonne, minus amortization. Restructuring scenarios drawn up by the think-tank show that the figures could be brought down to PLN 76,000-79,000 in labour costs and between PLN 104,000 and PLN 105,000 in other expenditures, the paper writes.
Dziennik Gazeta Prawna says that the ministry’s list of mines marked for closure is as yet unofficial. The plan may pose a challenge for the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, which had pledged in its electoral campaign that no coal mines would be closed down under its watch, the paper adds.