Germany to shut down coal mines in 2018

Germany to shut down coal mines in 2018

Germany is to shut down its coal mines, which helped fuel the country’s post-war economic miracle, by 2018, the ruling coalition of left and right parties agreed overnight.

Kurt Beck, head of the center left Social Democrat Party, and Economy Minister Michael Glos announced that the coalition government had agreed to phase out heavily-subsidized coal mining in Germany by 2018.

But as a compromise, the parties had also agreed on a clause that would see the decision reviewed in 2012 to ensure it was still valid in the context of the energy situation at that time.

There are currently eight coal mines operating in Germany, employing around 33,000 people.

The mines currently receive subsidies of up to 2.5 billion euros (3.2 billion dollars) a year.

An end to the subsidies would clear the way for industrial conglomerate RAG, which owns the mines, to float on the stock market.

The money raised by a flotation would pay miners’ pensions and the environmental cleanup costs.

The phase-out would be implemented in way that ensured there would be no compulsory redundancies, the ministers said.

Coal-mining in Germany had its heyday in the 1950s, when a total 607,000 miners were employed in 150 mines that produced 150 million tonnes of coal per year in 1957.

Production totalled just 22 million tonnes last year and is expected to fall to 16 million tonnes in 2012.

Source: AFP

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