Novaky, December 17 (TASR) – The Opposition Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party doesn’t want to shut down Upper Nitra Mines Prievidza (Hornonitrianske bane Prievidza/HBP), SaS MP Karol Galek told TASR on Saturday.
Galek was responding to Prime Minister Robert Fico’s statements uttered earlier today that SaS just wants to shut down the mines entirely.
Galek explained that HBP is a private company that should function like any other private entrepreneur – that is, based on the market principle. If they find subscribers, they can keep mining, noted Galek.
“Let them [HBP] manage the mines with their own resources; let them sell the mined coal on the market. They should pay salaries and costs from what they earn and the rest will make up their profit. However, it doesn’t work like this at the moment. This private firm receives a generous subsidy from all Slovak citizens for the sake of employment in the Upper Nitra area,” stressed Galek.
The premier stated that he’ll keep insisting on preservation of the mining tradition in the Upper Nitra area, which is closely related to 4,200 jobs. “It’s totally obvious that people from offices and cafes in Bratislava don’t care about whether there will be these jobs or not,” claimed Fico.
According to Galek, miners are hardworking and responsible employees and thus they deserve healthier and safer working environment. “They also deserve a fair wage. The state gives €94.5 million per year for subsidising production of electricity from the coal. There was a total of 3,486 people working in mines in 2015, which represents €2,259 per miner per month. I presume that not a single miner has ever seen such an amount on his payslip,” he added.
Fico also responded to SaS’s claims that there haven’t been issued any permits for the operation of the Novaky thermal power plant’s third turbine (ENO3), where HBP is performing some test runs at the moment. He thinks that SaS is just attacking the electricity production in ENO3, which, however, had to be put in operation because SE wasn’t meeting its commitments to HBP.
“It’s not a question of whether or not there was some kind of permit. The production of electricity in ENO3 is in line with the law, is based on agreement between SE and HBP and is simply essential for preserving employment in this gigantic company,” emphasised Fico.
SaS on Friday (December 16) filed a complaint with the Prosecutor-General’s Office concerning the operation of ENO3. SaS legislators decided to do this due to the economic damage and negative impact on people’s health and the environment caused by burning coal for this turbine.