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Britain faces EU lawsuit and huge fines over illegal air pollution – The Telegraph

By James Crisp, Brussels correspondent

Britain will be hit with European Commission legal action for persistently ignoring EU rules on deadly air pollution, a breach which could result in huge fines from the bloc’s highest court.

The Telegraph has learnt that Britain is among the worst offending member countries that will be hit by new “infringement proceedings” and referred to EU judges in Luxembourg at the end of April.

The majority of infringement proceedings, used to ensure adherence to EU law, are resolved before the commission takes the step of referring the case to the lower General Court of the EU.

Which countries are to be targeted by the regular cycles of lawsuits are a closely-guarded secret but the Telegraph understands the UK is in the commission’s crosshairs after missing air quality targets for the last eight years.

If the UK still doesn’t curb harmful pollutants, which are linked to 400,000 early deaths in the EU and 40,000 in Britain every year, it could ultimately face either a large lump sum fine and a daily penalty in the European Court of Justice.

The exact sum is recommended by the European Commission, which is leading the Brexit negotiations on behalf of the EU, but is likely to cost the British taxpayers millions of pounds.

EU air quality rules demand countries cut exposure to harmful fine particulate matter, such as microscopic specks of dust and soot caused by burning petrol. There are also caps on emissions of particulate matter, ozone and nitrogen dioxide.

Breathing in the particulates can cause respiratory illnesses such as asthma and heart disease, especially in children.

While 23 of the bloc’s 28 member states fall short of the rules, Britain is among the worst offenders.

At the end of January, EU Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella called a meeting of ministers from the UK, Czech Republic,  Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia in Brussels.

The commission said the summit was to give the countries a last chance to prove they were serious about taking the steps to bring them into line with the rules.

On Monday, Mr Vella told MEPs in the European Parliament’s environment committee that a number of countries had failed the test.

“We will go ahead and refer these member states to the Court,” the Maltese commissioner said, “We have to take action.”

Without naming the countries, Mr Vella said he would ask that all EU commissioners back his recommendation at their weekly meeting at the end of April.

If they, as expected, back the call it will be the latest embarrassing humiliation for the British government over air pollution.

The government has already made legal history by losing three landmark cases in three years over air pollution to ClientEarth, a NGO of environmental lawyers.

Ugo Taddei, a ClientEarth lawyer, said taking Britain to the European Court of Justice was the only logical step for the commission.

“Our success in the UK’s High Court confirmed that the government is failing to comply with air quality laws – it would be remiss of the environment commissioner to falter now. The UK has had too many chances,” he said.

The most recent defeat was in the High Court in February and means ClientEarth can take the government back to court if it prepares an action plan to reduce pollution that does not go far enough.

The judge said the government’s plan to tackle pollution was “flawed” and “unlawful”.

A joint report by four select committees called for significant improvements to the 2017 Air Quality Plan. The unprecedented joint inquiry branded British air pollution a “national health emergency” and were scathing about the plan.

London broke its annual air pollution limits in February, just 31 days into 2018.

On 19 March this year, campaigners for a group called Stop Killing Londoners were arrested after spraying slogans on offices of London mayor Sadiq Khan.

European cities, such as France, are increasingly turning to free public transport to cut air pollution.

Find the original Telegraph article here

Prairie Mining #PDZ – EU Confirms Coking Coal as a Critical Raw Material while Market Fundamentals Continue to Improve

EU Confirms Coking Coal as a Critical Raw Material while Market Fundamentals Continue to Improve 


  • European Commission continues to designate coking coal as a Critical Raw Material in its 2017 review
  • Coking coal continues to enjoy a strong market and spot price environment with hard coking coal prices above US$200/t FOB Australia
  • Market analysts forecast underinvestment in new coking coal mine development has potential to result in sustained high coking coal prices
  • European coking coal supply and demand fundamentals continue to improve with recovery of the steel making sector and increased reliance on imported coking coal as European production declines
  • Polish Government strongly supports development of new, modernised coal mines in order to meet future demand
  • Increasing demand for electric vehicles is expected to drive growth in steel supply to the European automobile industry
  • Large infrastructure development programs across Europe including High Speed 2 Rail in the UK, Poland’s transportation redevelopment plan, and China’s Belt and Road Initiative to contribute to European steel consumption

Prairie Mining Limited notes market fundamentals continue to improve for Prairie’s two large-scale Tier One coking coal projects as the European Commission reaffirms coking coal as a “Critical Raw Material” for Europe.

Prairie remains ideally positioned to supply coking coal to meet Europe’s steel demand in the future.

Prairie’s Chief Executive Officer Ben Stoikovich commented The outlook for increased coking coal demand from Europe’s steel producers coupled with reducing European supply is creating a ‘perfect storm’ for Prairie to become the go-to supplier of the critical raw material. Europe’s steel producers which supply the vast automobile industry are now noting the potential increase in demand for steel due to the move towards vehicle electrification over the coming decades. We are well positioned to supply the required coking coal to produce the steel from the heart of Europe’s steel making industry.”


The European Commission has confirmed coking coal’s status as a Critical Raw Material in its 2017 list, which features 27 raw materials and updates the 2014 list. The primary purpose of the list is to identify the raw materials with a high supply-risk and a high economic importance to which reliable and unhindered access is a concern for European industry and value chains.

Following an objective methodology, the list provides a factual tool for trade, innovation and industrial policy measures to strengthen the competitiveness of European industry in line with the renewed industrial strategy for Europe, for instance by:

  • identifying investment needs which can help alleviate Europe’s reliance on imports of raw materials;
  • guiding support to innovation on raw materials supply under the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme; and
  • drawing attention to the importance of critical raw materials for the transition to a low-carbon, resource-efficient and more circular economy.

Importantly for both of Prairie’s projects, it is expected that the list will incentivise the European production of critical raw materials through facilitating the launching of new mining activities.

Table 1: 2017 Critical Raw Materials







Coking Coal










Natural graphite

Natural rubber



Phosphate rock



Silicon metal




European steel makers – including the newly-formed ThyssenKrupp Tata Steel Joint Venture – are now looking ahead to supply a changing automobile industry with the introduction of electric vehicles and concurrently supply numerous major European infrastructure programs.

  • Increasing demand for ultra-low emission vehicles is expected to drive growth in steel supply to the European automobile industry. Almost 0.5 tonnes of coking coal are required to produce the structural, electrical and plated steel for each electric car. Specifically, steel is an important component of the electric vehicle structure and will be in the powertrain, enhancing the electric motor’s efficiency, range and power. Further, lithium-ion batteries commonly used in electric vehicles will require steel while infrastructure including the production of machinery, charging units and “refuelling hubs” for electric vehicles will also require steel.
  • According to BHP Billiton, China’s Belt and Road Initiative to advance globalisation and trading – which includes several European countries including Poland – could result in up to 150 million tonnes of incremental steel demand.
  • UK infrastructure projects including the High Speed 2 Rail Line and the construction of the Hinkley Point C Nuclear Power Station are expected to use over 3 million tonnes of steel – equivalent to 375 London Olympic Stadiums.


Hard coking coal prices have returned to levels above US$200/t FOB Australia mainly attributable to proactive buying in the seaborne market by steel producers concerned about future potential supply disruptions from Australia due to weather.

Longer term, market analysts have suggested recent and sustained underinvestment in new mine development has the potential to result in a lack of new supply in coming years which may sustain higher coking coal prices even in a lower demand scenario. According to industry analysts there is an expected decrease in supply of 0.5% per annum until 2020.


A key independent adviser to the Polish Government, the Polish Academy of Sciences1, recently published a report confirming Prairie’s Jan Karski and Debiensko Mines as obvious sources of future coking coal supply for the European steel industry. The Polish Academy of Sciences is a statutory institution which provides expert advice to the Polish Government and is one the most prestigious and reputable academic institutes in Poland. The report suggested:

 “Both domestic and European demand for coking coal is also expected to increase. However, the supply of this raw material is low – 85% of coking coal used in the EU in 2016 was imported. Therefore, Polish authorities are interested in promoting both the material and domestic steel industry, in order to secure a bigger share of European market to Poland – especially in Central Europe.

It is necessary to open new seams at existing mines, or building new mines, to guarantee the energy security of the country and to ensure sufficient supply of material for the steel industry (in Poland and in European Union).” 

Importantly, the report concluded that private mining businesses such as Prairie would indeed complement, rather than compete, with state-controlled mining companies.

“The Polish mining sector faces a great opportunity, as foreign private companies shall bring in the best innovative technologies and international practices in undertaking and implementing modern mining projects, thus leading to the natural transfer of innovative technologies to Polish industry.”

The findings of the report are in line with the Polish Commercial and Industrial Chamber of the Metallurgical Sector which in a recent paper acknowledged:

“One of the most important cost components, decisive for the economic standing of the steel sector, is the price of coking coal, and resulting prices of coke. It is worth remembering that undisturbed and attractively priced supplies of such materials from Polish mining and coking plants shall continue to be the base for development and competitive advantage of Polish steel industry and operation of directly and indirectly connected sectors.

Polish coking coal is attractive to the steel sector due to its price, resulting from high quality and geographic rent. In the event of insufficient supply of domestic coal, necessary imports (from countries like Australia and the USA) could have significant impact on both prices and flexibility of production in the sector2“.


In December 2017, Vice Minister of Energy Mr. Grzegorz Tobiszowski publicly discussed the requirement of investment into the Polish coal mining industry which included the construction of new coal mines:

“To be effective we should invest in new technologies, using modern equipment, but also consider building new shafts and new mines – and then we will be able to mine coal effectively”

During a speech in the same month, Minister of Energy, Mr. Krzystof Tchorzewski discussed the need for at least two new coal mines in Poland. The Minister stated:

“…today we face this challenge. There is a requirement for investment…into new longwalls, but also the necessity to build new mines is looming”

Prairie will pioneer the introduction of international best practice in mine design, production organisation and technology to deliver substantial operational and product quality improvements in the development of its Jan Karski Semi-Soft Coking Coal Mine in the Lublin Basin and its Debiensko Hard Coking Coal Mine in Upper Silesia.

Coal mining technology in Poland has not kept pace with international best practices, thereby negatively impacting efficiency of existing mines. Prairie will start with a “clean slate”, drawing on modern international experience in all areas of development including:

  • Modern exploration techniques – provide more accurate and reliable estimation of resources and improved mine planning
  • Optimized targeting of coal seams – focuses on maximizing net present value by targeting highest quality coal seams first
  • Modern mine design – reduces operating costs, improves coal yields and optimizes logistics
  • New technologies – focuses on increased automation, improved productivity and safety
  • Improved Labour Organisation – flexible shift structures, bonuses based on production targets aimed at increasing productivity, reducing costs and aligning staff interests with corporate goals

To view this announcement in full including all illustrations and figures, please refer to www.pdz.com.au

For further information, please contact:

Prairie Mining Limited

Tel: +44 207 478 3900

Ben Stoikovich, Chief Executive Officer

Email: info@pdz.com.au

Sapan Ghai, Head of Corporate Development


1 The Mineral and Energy Economy Research Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences: “Raw material security in the context of limited domestic capacity of hard coal production – key issues”, 2017.
2 Commercial and Industrial Chamber of Metallurgic Sector: “POLISH STEEL SECTOR”; 2017.

Critical Raw Material Alliance welcomes call to create an expert network – Tertiary Minerals

CRM-LOGO2The CRM Alliance welcomes the European Commission’s call to create an expert network on critical raw materials. Given the supply risk and economic importance of critical raw materials for the European Union, it is vital that policy-makers from the EU and the member states make better informed decisions regarding the supply of CRMs, as well as work towards developing European standards to optimise the recovery of these materials. An expert network on CRMs will significantly help reduce the current knowledge gaps to foster the supply of EU sources, raise awareness of the importance of CRMs for society, and develop solutions to the various challenges relating to their supply. According to the Commission, this proposed action should develop an expert network or structure of networks covering all CRMs and where possible, include stakeholders to cover as much of the value chains as possible.

The CRM Alliance has been created by industry to advocate the importance of those critical raw materials (CRMs) in Europe and to promote our common interests. The Alliance represents the interests of primary producers, traders and associations. The CRM Alliance supports the creation of a strong critical raw materials policy which will benefit the economic and national security interests of the EU and its leadership in innovation, manufacturing and technology-dependent services which is inextricably linked to reliable access to, and the use of, critical raw materials. Given the high socio-economic importance of those critical materials and using alternative substances while maintaining the same level of performance is often not a viable option. CRM and other policies should thus not be directed in any way towards substitution of those CRMs. Instead, CRM policies should rather look for enhanced raw material supply, allocate more funds to R&D since critical materials are highly important for resource efficiency, strive to have other EU policies such as REACH give special consideration for critical materials; andfinally, trade policies that reflect both free and fair trade.

The CRM Alliance is currently an observer in important European Commission – DG GROW stakeholder groups such as the Raw Materials Supply Group which is comprised of industry representatives, environmental NGOs, trade unions, Member States and the Commission. The CRM Alliance also holds the observer status in the Ad-Hoc Working Group on Defining CRMs which is an expert group tasked to identify the list of critical raw materials. This means that when a particular substance is being discussed by this Working Group, our members representing that substance are allowed to take part in the meeting and provide its members with the most up-to-date information on their substance. The CRM Alliance is supported by a Secretariat located at the core of European decision-making in Brussels. It is operated by Ridens Public Affairs, a business consultancy practice that assists organizations in dealing with regulatory and advocacy issues related to the raw materials sector, provides membership services, raises visibility of the associations and brings additional value to its members.

In 2010, the European Commission identified 14 raw materials critical because they are “economically and strategically important and are subject to a higher risk of supply interruption in the next 10 years”. This list should help incentivize EU production of CRMs, facilitate the launching of new mining and recycling opportunities and support negotiating trade agreements. In 2014, the European Commission analysed 54 substances – including non-energy, non-agricultural materials – and identified 6 more materials as critical, seperated heavy from light rare earth metals and decided to remove tantalum from the list. These 20 materials are antimony, beryllium, chromium, coking coal, fluorspar, TYM1gallium, germanium, magnesium, niobium, platinum group metals, heavy rare earth metals, light rare earth metals, silicon metal and tungsten. Since the list is being reviewed every three years, the European Commission is currently refining the methodology used to identify these materials. By early next year – 2016 – the current list of 20 materials will be reviewed and updated which is expected to be finished by late spring 2017. Given the current global state of play in the metals field, the CRM Alliance is expecting the CRM list to also grow with the next review.

The CRM Alliance currently consists of 19 members representing 15 Critical Raw Materials and more than 350 companies globally: Beryllium Science & Technology Association; Etimine (borates); The Cobalt Development Institute; World Coal Association (coking coal); Eurofluor (fluorspar); Tertiary Minerals (Fluorspar); German Engineering Federation (gallium arsenide); EcoPhos (graphite rock); Indium Corporation; International Magnesium Association; Minor Metals Trade Association; Imerys Graphite and Carbon (natural graphite); Beta Technology (niobium); International Precious Metals Institute (PGMs); Great Western Minerals Group (REEs); Tasman Metals (REEs); EuroAlliages (silicon metal); and Commerce Resources Corporation (REEs and former CRM tantalum).

Link here to view the full CRM Alliance paper Fact-Sheets-CRM-Alliance-September-2015


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