Coal Energy 15 April, 2019 10:00 am   
COMMENTS: Janusz Steinhoff

Steinhoff: If Poland does not want to increase coal import, it has to build new mines

The prices of Russian coal in Poland are decreasing. Janusz Steinhoff, former Deputy Prime Minister and Economy Minister in the government of Jerzy Buzek, stressed in an interview with that in the near future they may contribute to the growth of import of coal from Russia. In his opinion, without the construction of new mines, Poland will be forced to increase coal import.

In comparison with March, the prices of sized Russian coal in Poland dropped by 5-11 percent. The average price delivered to Brest under the DAP (delivery at place) formula of enriched coal with a diameter of 5-20 cm and calorific value 5500-5800 kcal/kg decreased from 83.5 to 79 dollars per ton. A similar trend was visible in the case of other types of coal.

Many factors indicate that this coal can be competitive towards the coal coming from our mines, among others due to its price. Because of mining and geological conditions, the costs of coal mining from the mines in Upper Silesia are quite high. In comparison to the Bogdanka and Silesia mines, they have relatively lower efficiency, he said.

He noted that new mines are not being created in Poland, and mining fronts in factories currently in operation do not increase. Everything indicates that coal import will be growing. Russia is the largest supplier of coal for several reasons, among others, due to the price of coal, its quality and transport costs, said the former Deputy Prime Minister.

He also reminded about investments in new coal-fired units. Soon, two new units will be launched in Opole, and one in Jaworzno. We have also recently launched a new one in Kozienice. Now we are starting to build the Ostrołęka C power plant. We are a country forced to import a coal and this is going to be a critical factor for our energy sector. Import will grow, because we do not build new mines. I completely do not understand the position of the current government, which is reluctant to let foreign capital to build new mines. I believe that if someone wants to invest money in mines in Poland, it should be supported, not hampered as it will contribute to increasing energy security, said Steinhoff.

Referring to the proposal to introduce customs restrictions on the import of Russian coal, he stressed that such a decision must be taken at the European Union level. We are part of the common market and customs area. The imposition of any protective measures on the import of any goods is within the competence of Brussels, not the Polish government, said the politician. 

In his opinion, coal import and competition on the coal market should exist. The price of coal in Poland should correspond with the price of coal in Europe. We have some of the highest wholesale energy prices. This market should be competitive. If this is not the case, coal prices will grow and significantly affect the prices of electricity, and thus the competitiveness of the Polish economy and the standard of living of Polish citizens, he concluded.