The Slovenian operator of the lignite mine Premogovnik Velenje submitted a request for the extension of the validity of the mining rights and concession for the Velenje mine for 20 years, according to the announcement.
The request does not include a change in the scope of the mineral exploration permit and the size of the mining area and had to be submitted at least six months before the end of the concession period, which runs until July 21, 2023, Premogovnik Velenje announced on Monday.
The Premogovnik Velenje mine signed a 20-year concession contract with the Slovenian government on January 21, 2002, which was later extended by six months, the mining company announced.
Premogovnik Velenje operates the only lignite mine in Slovenia, which supplies mainly the coal-fired thermal power plant Šoštanj.
In January 2022, the Government of Slovenia adopted a strategic plan on ending the use of coal for electricity production by 2033. The strategy envisages the closure of the Velenje coal mine, as well as a comprehensive social and economic restructuring of the Zasavje coal region and the Savinjsko-Šaleška valley.
According to this strategy, TPP Šoštanj, with a capacity of 884 MW, and Ljubljana’s combined coal-fired power plant of 123 MW, which supplies 90% of remotely generated thermal energy to the capital of Slovenia, should be closed by 2033.
However, since TEŠ’s facilities are designed to burn lignite with the characteristics of the coal produced in the Velenje mine, the parent company Holding Slovenske elektrarne (HSE) is unable to completely replace domestic production with imports.
The operator of the Velenje mine also announced last week that it is investigating the possibility of importing additional quantities of coal that would guarantee the smooth operation of the Šoštanj TPP in 2023.
Premogovnik Velenje last year concluded two contracts with the Swiss company Petraco, worth 42.5 million euros and 7.9 million euros, respectively, for the import of Indonesian coal in order to compensate for lower domestic production, caused by geomechanical problems and measures for the gradual withdrawal of coal.
A total of 60,000 tons of coal were imported until January 28, the director of Premogovnik Velenje said in a statement.