Spain needs to close every coal mine by Dec. 31, 2018.
Spain will stop its operations on at least 26 coal mines in 2019, putting an end to the exploitation of said mineral. The mines that will be closed can be found in the communities of Asturias, Aragon and Castilla and Leon.
The closure of these mines will affect more than 2,000 workers that are part of the special regime of coal mining. The number of employees working on the coal mining industry in 1985 was 51,420. The coal in Spain is mainly used for the production of electricity from thermal power plants.
Spain has a commitment with the European Commission to abandon coal at the beginning of the decade, within the objectives established by the European Union (EU). Brussels had granted a final extension to a deficit economic activity that has more than 30 years of decline in Spain.
Only two mining companies have stated that they would like to continue with their operations, which would mean that they would have to leave and return every single help that the Spanish government is giving to this kind of companies, under the special regime of coal mining.
In 2010, the EU accepted - due to pressures from Germany and Spain, that the deficit coal mines could continue to receive public aid - under one condition. That those deposits had to close on December 31, 2018, at the latest. If on that date, the coal mines declared their desire to continue with the operation, they would have to do it without any public help and would have to return the aid received.
The closure of the mines does not imply the abandonment of the use of coal, which is currently imported in at 90 percent from several countries, especially Colombia and Russia. Currently, nine of the 15 thermal power plants in Spain use coal as fuel and will have to stop working by 2020. This activity is responsible for 15 percent of the greenhouse gases emissions in Spain.