published: 24.10.2013, 14:12 | updated: 24.10.2013 15:01:16
Most - Czech President Milos Zeman is for the coal mining limits to be broken in the country, otherwise up to 8500 work positions would be lost, he said during a visit to the Usti nad Labem region today.
Soaring unemployment persists as the biggest problem in the region, Zeman said.
Moreover, the breaking of limits will lower the Czech Republic´s energy dependence on foreign countries, he pointed out.
"The reasons why I advocate the limit breaking are, first, that up to 8500 work positions would be gradually lost without the step being taken," Zeman said, adding that this would amount to "almost a tragedy," mainly in the Most area.
"Second, I believe that I´ve been sufficiently informed about the quality of the [brown] coal deposits located, for example, beneath Horni Jiretin and other villages...and I believe that the exploitation of this coal would help the Czech Republic become far less dependent on external sources of energy," said Zeman.
He said he has discussed the issue with mining companies´ owners as well as unions and regional officials, and he also visited Horni Jiretin.
The third reason, Zeman said, is the amended mining law that prevents owners from being expropriated against their will.
That is why the mining companies have to reach agreement with real estate owners in the areas concerned and offer them "conditions that would be advantageous for the owners," Zeman said.
Zeman said the Czech Republic needs an energy mixture in which nuclear and brown coal sources will play the main role.
He said he aware of the arguments opponents of the lifting of the coal mining limits
Greenpeace activists protested against the lifting in Prague on Tuesday. They said at least 2000 people in Horni Jiretin and the nearby Cernice would lose their homes if mining went beyond the limits.
A vast majority of the locals are against the breaking of the limits, Horni Jiretin mayor said in May.
Mining companies have been seeking the breaking of the limits. Severni energeticka mining firm board chairman Jan Dienstl recently said work in the CSA brown coal mine in the Most area could continue 150 years longer if the limits were broken. He said 3000 people could work in the mine and further 5000 in related plants and firms.
If the limits are not lifted, the CSA mine will close down in 2022.
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