The government has allotted RON84.554m from the state budget for closing procedures of the uncompetitive mines Petrila, Paroseni and Uricani in 2017, the authority announced. About RON44.6m would consist in direct grants and the rest should be used for finalizing the definitive closing procedure. The state aid will be also notified to the EC. The three mines are part of the financially-troubled energy group Complexul Energetic Hunedoara. Romanian authorities are currently closing inefficient mines, leaving hundreds of people without jobs and little employment perspectives. The process should end in 2018, but the former cabinet had asked the EC for a deadline extension until 2024, for diminishing the social impact.
The energy minister also pledged to carefully monitor the coal price in the mines that receive state aid, so it would not drop below the prices for similar coal quality in other countries. The mention comes to assure the public that the government is watching closely the coal price matter after the corruption scandal in the field. As recalled, the management of the two state-controlled energy holdings that control most of the mining sector in Romania, had been investigated for illegally selling coal at very low prices to favored local companies, which further on sold it abroad at notably higher prices. That way, the state companies were affected due to cashing a dumping price for their coal and for being hampered to participate in coal purchase auctions abroad.