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Majority of Spanish coal mines to close by end of year

Published by , Assistant Editor
World Coal,

By the end of this year, Spain is to close the majority of its coal mines following governments and trade unions striking a deal that will see €250 million invested in mining regions over the next decade.

A new left-wing administration led by Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has quickly reformed the country’s environmental policy, abolishing the previous right-wing government’s controversial “sunshine tax”.

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.”

“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.”

Spanish trade unions hailed the deal as a model agreement, offering early retirement to miners over 48, with environmental restoration work planned for mining communities and re-skilling schemes for innovative green industries.

National coal provides just 2.3% of Spain’s electricity.

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