The Turów lignite mine is not planning to expand its operations beyond the boundaries specified in its concession 25 years ago. Mining operations are being conducted only within the area specified in the decision from 1994.
The existing mining concession was issued by the Minister of Environmental Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry in 1994, and the mining area “Turoszów-Bogatynia” was designated as part of it and is included in the Bogatynia municipality’s existing planning documents.
Mining area will not increase
The deposit is being mined in the south-eastern direction up to the eventual boundaries set in the deposit management plan. The pace of mining operations requires the existing concession term to be extended. However, this process does not involve an expansion of the concession area. In practice this means that mining and production activities will not expand into any new areas.
Works being conducted at the foreground of the open-pit mine are preparatory works within areas currently covered by mining plans and intended for mining activity in the spatial development plan.
Industrial-scale lignite mining in Turów has been on-going since 1904. Since 18 June 1947, when the Turów lignite mine was acquired by the Polish state, concessions have been extended several times.
Water and air under protection
PGE GiEK is constantly monitoring and analysing the impact of its mining and production activities on the natural environment and is taking measures to protect it. Successive improvements in PGE GiEK’s pro-ecological activities as well as compliance with the laws and standards for environmental protection are confirmed through management system certificates.
As regards emerging information, PGE GiEK notes that there is no proof for the impact of mining activity within the Żytawska Basin on the eight active water sources (Loučna, Dolni Sucha, Pekařka velka, Dĕtrichov, U Nemocnice (Frydlant), Bažantice, Višňova, Pertoloice) in the Czech Republic.
It should be noted that the Turów mine’s impact on groundwater has been monitored for many years by Polish-Czech and Polish-German expert teams. This network covers approx. 550 monitoring wells, and the results of surveys show that the mine is not causing drainage of the aforementioned sources of drinking water.
Moreover, the 300-metre-deep Żytawska Basin is surrounded by crystalline rocks, which significantly reduce the outflow of water from surrounding areas.
In order to protect a different water source, in Uhelná, which is located in the Żytniawska Basin’s boundary area, measures were taken to develop technical ways of reducing the impact of mine drainage on the surroundings. Based on model surveys, it has been concluded that building a counter-filtration screen would be the most effective solution. A technical design for this screen is currently being developed. This way, the Uhelná source will be protected against any potential impact from the Turów mine until 2044.
Continuous Polish-Czech dialogue
It should be noted that the impact of the Turów open-pit mine is the subject of works by the Polish-Czech Commission for Cooperation on Border Waters, which features a team of expert hydrogeologists dedicated to the Turów mine’s impact on Czech land. Czech experts receive materials and data from Poland on an on-going basis. The results of hydrogeological modelling conducted in 2016 were provided to the Czech side at a meeting in Wrocław on 7 September 2017. Since then, the Czech side has received a number of other documents and analyses, including as part of a transboundary environmental assessment of a draft change in the local spatial development plan for the city of Bogatynia for a 14.6ha area needed to continue to develop the Turów deposit.
Latest technological in power plants
PGE GiEK’s power plants hold the necessary permits for use of the environment. They are subject to inspections by the Voivodship Environmental Protection Inspectorate, the state enterprise Wody Polskie and others. To prevent pollution and other threats to the natural environment, the best available technical solutions and specialised equipment are used at PGE GiEK’s generating assets.
An assessment of air quality in the Lower Silesia voivodship is carried out annually as part of the State Environmental Monitoring performed by the Voivodship Environmental Protection Inspectorate. Forecasts for impact of the Turów power plant and mine on air quality until 2044 are described in environmental impact assessments – specialised expert documentation prepared as part of environmental impact assessment procedures for investments. In accordance with the Espoo Convention (Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in a Transboundary Context), environmental impact assessment reports concerning power plant and mine activities in a transboundary context, including impact on air quality, were provided to the German and Czech sides for consultations. The comments made by the Czech Republic and Germany are and will be explained as part of transboundary consultations.
Transparency of activities
Information on the activities of branches within environmental protection is made available on websites. In matters that are of significance to the safety of residents, the data is also available in Czech and German. The society is informed about investment activities and has the right to participate in proceedings. Information on the power plant’s activities is also available at educational meetings organised as part of Open Days. Organised groups may also visit the power plant by prior appointment. The residents of the Bogatynia municipality, school children, students as well as our neighbours from the Czech Republic and Germany are frequent visitors.