PiS MEP Jadwiga Wiśniewska sent an interpellation to the European Commission regarding the updated regulation published by it containing the list of critical raw materials (critical raw materials act), including coking coal, the extraction of which would be covered by the methane regulation in the future.
“Coking coal is a raw material of strategic importance for the European industry, constituting the basis for the ecological and digital transformation” – emphasizes Wiśniewska, pointing out that since the Russian aggression against Ukraine, the import of coking coal to Europe has been stopped, and now it is imported mainly from Australia, the USA and Asian countries. In turn, as the MEP notes, Poland is the largest producer and exporter in Europe, and more precisely Jastrzębska Spółka Węglowa (JSW).
Jadwiga Wiśniewska reminds that coking coal is necessary for the production of iron and steel, which is used, among others, in for the production of wind turbines and solar panels, and so far there are no large-scale technologies to replace it on the market, which is why it is an indispensable material in the process of conducting a successful energy transformation.
In view of the above, the MEP asks the EC why, in the regulation on the reduction of methane emissions from the energy sector, the Commission proposed to include coking coal mines with restrictions on the release of methane from ventilation shafts in a delegated act, which – according to the original proposal of the Commission – should be adopted three years from the date of entry into force of the regulation. In addition, Jadwiga Wiśniewska asks whether the Commission based its proposal on a thorough impact assessment analyzing the impact of such requirements on the operation and profitability of coking coal mines, given their strategic role in the energy transition.
By means of a special regulation, the EC introduces a methane emission standard of 5 tons of methane per 1,000 tons of extracted coal. It would come into force in 2027. And in 2031, it would also cover coking coal mines. In the original version, the document provided for the level of 0.5 tons of methane per thousand tons of extracted coal, and the softening of the EC’s position is undoubtedly Poland’s negotiating success. Regardless of this, the new regulations will affect basically all Polish mines, forcing expensive investments in methane capture systems, or – in extreme cases – their closure.