Germany plans coal mines closures

Germany plans coal mines closures

Germany will phase out its heavily subsidised coal mining industry by 2018 under a deal reached late on Sunday by federal and regional governments and the centre-left Social Democrats.

The agreement clears the way for the flotation of German diversified group RAG which will use the cash raised to pay for an environmental clean up and miners’ pensions.

“I believe we can present an outline plan to the coalition committee,” Economy Minister Michael Glos said after a meeting which lasted much of the day.

Glos is a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives who share power with the Social Democrats (SPD), traditional defenders of the mining industry.

Under the deal, agreed after months of wrangling, government subsidies for the mining industry will end by 2018. However, a review will take place in 2012 to decide whether a small amount of mining should continue.

Coalition heads are due to discuss the agreement later on Monday. Germany has eight coal mines, all in northwestern Germany, which employ about 36,900 people. Last year German miners produced about 21 million tonnes of coal.

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