Poland may seek temporary output reduction at some mines – by Agnieszka Barteczko (Reuters Africa – November 10, 2015)

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WARSAW, Nov 10 (Reuters) – Poland could temporarily cut output at several mines over the next four to five years to take surplus coal off the market as the industry deals with record low prices, a member of Poland’s newly elected Law and Justice party said.

Consolidating state-owned power producers could be considered as a next step as the government seeks first to prop up the struggling coal mining sector, Grzegorz Tobiszowski, responsible for coal issues, told Reuters.

The conservative Law and Justice party (PiS), which won parliamentary elections last month, would consider merging the country’s biggest power firms – PGE, Tauron, Enea and Energa, he added.

“Personally I think Poland needs one big power company,” Tobiszowski said, adding this would likely face scrutiny from the EU over anti-monopoly regulations. “If this turns out difficult, we will be working on the formula of two groups”.

He added that the government was unlikely to work on this by the end of next year.

Poland’s outgoing government had sought to bail out the European Union’s biggest coal mining firm Kompania Weglowa (KW) but ultimately failed to find investors.

Eastern Europe’s biggest economy generates nearly all its electricity from coal but low prices have hit the coal mining sector hard and left the incoming government with the task of figuring out how to revive the mining industry.

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