October 29, 2018 Read More →

Spain to close most remaining coal mines by year’s end

The Guardian:

Spain is to shut down most of its coalmines by the end of the year after government and unions struck a deal that will mean €250m (£221m) will be invested in mining regions over the next decade.

Unions hailed the mining deal – which covers Spain’s privately owned pits – as a model agreement. It mixes early retirement schemes for miners over 48, with environmental restoration work in pit communities and re-skilling schemes for cutting-edge green industries.

Teresa Ribera, the minister for ecological transition, said: “With this agreement, we have solved the first urgent task we had on the table when we came to government. Our aim has been to leave no one behind. We also want to go further, we want to innovate. That is why we offer the drawing up of ‘Just Transition’ contracts, with the aim of helping the regions to consolidate the employment of the future.”

More than a thousand miners and subcontractors will lose their jobs when 10 pits close by the end of the year. Almost all of the sites were uneconomic concerns that the European commission had allowed Spain to temporarily keep open with a €2.1bn state aid plan.

Montserrat Mir, the Spanish confederal secretary for the European Trades Union Congress, said the “just transition” model could be applied elsewhere. “Spain can export this deal as an example of good practice,” she said. “We have shown that it’s possible to follow the Paris agreement without damage [to people’s livelihoods]. We don’t need to choose between a job and protecting the environment. It is possible to have both.”

Spain’s coal industry employed more than 100,000 miners in the 1960s, but its energy dominance was eroded by cheap imports and increasing awareness of the industry’s environmental, health and climate costs. National coal provides just 2.3% of Spain’s electricity.

More: Spain to close most coal mines in €250m transition deal

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