Fire engulfed a conveyer belt at Poland’s largest brown coal mine before it was extinguished. The midday fire at the Belchatow mine on Saturday covered the area that includes Poland’s largest lignite power plant with huge clouds of black smoke. A spokesman for Lodz region firefighters, Jedrzej Pawlak, said the conveyer belt was 30 meters high, making access to the flames difficult. No casualties were reported, Pawlak said.
The fire was the second incident this week forcing the suspension of some of the power plant’s generators. State energy group PGE said the fire was caused by the ignition of brown coal that was being conveyed to the Belchatow plant’s Unit 14 reactor. PGE says the unit will have to shut down because the fire disrupted coal deliveries. Its say the closure won’t cause power outages.
Atop European Union court ordered Poland on Friday to immediately, halt operations at a lignite mine in Turow, on the Czech and German border that belongs to PGE. Officials in the Czech Republic had complained that the mine used up their groundwater and affected local residents. Poland’s minister for state assets, Jacek Sasin, declared that Poland did not accept the court’s ruling and would not take any steps that could undermine Poland’s energy security as it phases out black coal.