Czech hard coal miner New World Resources’ OKD unit wants to lay off half of its employees within the next two years. Although the move is not unexpected and the Czech government has been debating ways of softening its social impact, the lay-offs will present a serious problem in a region with a 19.2 percent unemployment rate.
One miner died and another was seriously injured when the Darkov mine in Karviná was hit by a tremor on Tuesday morning. The mine tremor occurred at a depth of 1,150 metres at about 6:30, a spokesman for operators OKD said. A special commission will look into the causes of the accident. Last year four people died in mines owned by OKD, which is the country’s only coal producer.
Government ministers met Thursday with managers of the struggling mining company OKD. Minister of Industry and Trade, Jan Mládek, said after the meeting that it had been agreed that any fundamental steps agreed by company management would have to be approved as well by the company’s creditors. He added that ongoing negotiations would focus on a possible restructuring plan for the company and the sale of the Frenstat mine to the state. Coal at that mine has not been exploited yet. The future of the OKD mines are threatened by low coking coal prices with around 13,000 immediate jobs at stake.
One of the biggest items on the in-tray of Czech Minister of Industry and Trade, Jan Mládek, from last year is the fate of the OKD hard coal mines. At least one of the last handful of deep mines in the counry, Paskov, looks certain to shut down soon and the fate of the whole mining group looks very shaky indeed. The minister will meet with company bosses on Thursday in a bid to chart a future that can safeguard some of the mines and the thousands of jobs at stake.
A Czech transport boat stranded on the Elbe river near Dresden has been freed after water management authorities artificially raised the water level.The 90-metre long boat carrying over 1,000 tons of cargo got stuck on its way to the port of Dečín on Sunday. Why the boat became stranded is not yet clear. According to preliminary reports it was not overloaded.
The Czech government on Monday rejected another bailout package for the ailing mining company OKD. Following talks with trade unions, the cabinet has said it will focus on social programmes to help cushion the impact of the closure of the Paskov deep coal mine and the gradual phasing out of mining in the Moravia-Silesia region.
The Czech government is debating the future of the Paskov mine, one of the last deep coal mines in the country, after its owner OKD announced its possible closure at the end of 2016. The mine is one of the biggest employers in the Moravian-Silesian region and its closure would put 1,800 employees and almost as many more doing business with the mine out of work.
Three miners were injured in tremors that hit the Karvian mine in the night hours, a spokesman for the OKD company told the ctk newsagency. All three miners are hospitalized, but are reported to be out of danger. The tremors from mining activity reportedly caused a landslide in part of the mine. The cause of the accident is being investigated.
A freight train accident near Drísy north of Prague has closed the track between Stará Boleslav and Mělník, the ctk news agency reports. Four carriages carrying tankers with crude oil derailed and one of them turned over. Czech Railways reported a small oil leak. Clean up work is expected to continue for several more hours and passengers have been asked to make use of replacement busses provided by Czech Railways. The damage is estimated at over 11 million crowns.