THE LAST NATIONAL TREASURE
Mining Labour Unions are afraid that somebody in the higher post than the government has already made a decision about liquidation of this sector of Polish economy. It is only necessary to lead to its collapse with Polish hands and later take over it for pennies
Polish miners blocked one of the biggest transshipment ports of coal situated in Braniewo. Only last year here and in other places was 11 million tons of coal imported to Poland. There may be more of it this year. Whereas in Polish mines in the Silesia there are millions of heaps of coal, a few mines allegedly unprofitable are to be liquidated, including the last mine ‘Kazimierz Juliusz’ in Zagłębie Dąbrowskie where there is a strike of miners under the ground, against its liquidation. The government, aware of the danger caused by the strike of Silesian miners, has been having talks with them for over half a year, but everything ends in verbal declarations of help. Whereas a solution is very simple: in response to the Russian embargo onto Polish food, our country should immediately introduce embargo onto Russian coal, which, in spite of being cheap, is of the worse quality and in some segments is not competitive towards the Polish raw material at all, also in the sense of the price. Whereas the Russian coal – I will add – is cheaper only because it is subsidized by the government of Władimir Putin.
Introducing embargo onto Russian coal was promised by the prime minister Donald Tusk during the so-called coal summit meeting in Katowice. He confirmed that embargo might be one of ways to solve problems of the Polish mining industry, there were discussions on various ways of helping mines: to oblige state institutions, like hospitals, schools or army to buy Polish not Russian coal, which exposes tax-payers to costs of about 2 milliard every year; to order trade with Polish coal. Here there is an absolutely freedom in American style: there is an enormous number of mediators, concessions, there are uncontrolled warehouses, individual fortunes are growing, whereas mines are getting poorer and poorer day by day, because they sell coal at the price which is comparable to the Russian one, but it is much more expensive for the final recipient.
There is nothing to conceal, the new government will face a big challenge at once. First of all, it should not close down mines, because prognosis for coal are optimistic. It is not fuel from the previous epoch – as western economists state. Coal is our asset in the situation of energy danger from Russia. This is our national treasure which we have in vast amounts. According to the report of the State Geological Institute, deposits of stone coal are over 47 milliard tons, of which there are over 19 milliard tons in the utilized deposits. In addition, there are 45 milliard tons of lignite. We should remember that coal provides us 95 per cent of supply of electricity at present. It can also be gasified, used in chemical, pharmaceutical and other plants. A good organized is only needed, who will not speak about closing down unprofitable mines, similarly as people used to be persuaded to close down unprofitable shipyards, steelworks and factories. It is necessary to modernize existing mines, build new energy blocks – otherwise Poland will be short of electricity soon, and it will have to be imported.
Does the new government understand the significance of the problem? Mining unions are afraid that somebody in the higher post than the Polish government has already made a decision about liquidation of this sector of Polish economy. It is only necessary to lead to its collapse with Polish hands and later take over it for pennies. Miners will not allow for it, therefore, they will welcome the new prime minister of the Polish government on the day of her expose, on 1 October, in their mass group in front of the seym. They are right to be afraid that this term of office will be worse than the previous one created with the idea of saving the Civic Platform, not the Polish mining.