Coal mining in Turów causes a number of negative phenomena, which currently plague the inhabitants of border towns.
An extensive lignite mine has a negative impact on the quality of life of the inhabitants of Poland and the Czech borderland, mainly due to such unfavorable phenomena as noise from the operation of the mine, the amount of particulate matter to which emissions from the adjacent Turów power plant are added, cracking of building walls due to ground instability, loss of property value, as well as lowering of the groundwater level and related drying of wells, ponds and farmland. Many villages in the region are not connected to the water supply system and therefore the inhabitants are condemned only to their own wells.
The expansion of the mine will increase the amount of dust and noise and may result in the loss of access to drinking water for approximately 30,000 inhabitants of the Liberec region in the Czech Republic. The mine extension project does not provide alternative sources of drinking water.
The mine extension also poses a great risk of the increased severity of drought, which will accelerate the extinction of flora and fauna in the region. The entire local ecosystem will be seriously and irreversibly transformed.
In the border villages, e.g. Oldřichov na Hranicích, between 1980 and 2014 the area decreased by approximately 120 mm, which resulted in cracked walls of the buildings. The expected subsidence of the ground in the vicinity of the planned extension of the mine may affect the buildings to the south and south-west of the mine. Although chapter 14.3 of the EIA documentation states briefly that no damage to buildings in the territory of the Czech Republic is expected, it can be concluded from the detailed records that an impact on buildings in the south may occur.
Real estate prices and the social trap
The impact of subsidence and instability of the geological substrate, together with the impact of the mine on the aesthetic value of the landscape and the quality of the environment, will lead to a decrease in the value of real property in the near and far vicinity of the mine. The decrease in the market price of real estates may concern not only Polish territory and the immediate vicinity of the border, but the entire area of the Hrádecko and Frýdlantsko regions.
PGE is not obliged to buy out real estate outside the direct area of the mine, and it is very difficult to enforce compensation for the decrease in value of real property. A dramatic situation has occurred in Opolno-Zdrój: more than half of the town is designated for expropriation and demolition - including most of the public infrastructure, school, kindergarten and church. The remaining part of the town is to remain on the edge of the pit - according to PGE's plan. Residents of the houses in the vicinity of the mine are becoming its prisoners as their real estates have already become unsellable. Selective buyout of land for the mine, conducted on unequal terms and driven by the residents' fear for the future, continues.
Our organizations jointly counteract the expansion of the open-cast Turów lignite mine in Poland for the benefit of local communities, nature and climate. We support civic activities undertaken by the international community at the interface of the Czech Republic, Germany and Poland. We strive to make the lignite-dependent Bogatynia enter the path of energy transition as well as economic and social transformation.