Slovenia has adopted the National Strategy for coal phase-out and restructuring of coal regions, naming 2033 as the year when the country stops producing electricity from coal.
According to the press statement of Slovenia’s state-owned power generation company Holding Slovenske Elektrarne (HSE), on the basis of the strategy, the Slovenian government is also adopting an Act on the gradual closure of the Velenje Coal Mine which is owned by Premogovnik Velenje. For the rehabilitation of degraded areas around the mine and for its controlled, gradual closure, the State will provide appropriate resources and funds.
However, the termination of coal extraction does not imply the immediate closure of the mine but will require a 15-year transitional period.
“Until the target year, production at the Velenje Coal Mine will be carried out in accordance with plans, which will particularly require employees to be engaged in the production process and the companies in the group will, of course, need people for another fifteen years after the cessation of extraction of coal to implement all work related to the closure. Thus, the proposed year 2033 means at least another twenty years of mining”, reads the statement.
In addition to the Act on the Velenje Coal Mine closure, the company calls for drafting another Act on the restructuring of Slovenia’s Savinja-Šalek region. This will enable the drawing of funds for restructuring, investments and new projects to provide new jobs as well as the establishment of the Just Transition Fund.
According to the statement, such development will allow the promotion of a circular economy, the introduction of new technologies and keeping the energy production in the Šalek Valley.
The fast adoption of the Act will also mean that the mining operator Premogovnik Velenje can get access to required funds for all measures related to the gradual closure, including, the closure of the pit, rehabilitation of the surface and workforce issues.
“The year 2033 has a very clear goal in mind and there are many challenges associated with it,” continues the statement. “New opportunities and new dimensions are opening up and new jobs and projects funded by the European Union are being anticipated”.
“We will build our future on the advantages that the Premogovnik Velenje Group has at its disposal. The Šalek Valley is an important energy production location, and the local population is used to living in harmony with energy, while we have all the necessary consents for this type of activity. It will no longer be possible to acquire such locations in the near and distant future, so it is necessary to take advantage of the possibilities and opportunities it offers”, concludes the statement.