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Update: Supreme Administrative Court rules against Bogdanka on Jan Karski mine application

Published by , Assistant Editor
Global Mining Review,

Poland’s Supreme Administrative Court has finally and fully rejected Lubelski Wegiel BOGDANKA S.A.’s (Bogdanka) administrative complaints against Poland’s Ministry of Environment (MoE) regarding the refusal of Bogdanka’s 2013 application for a mining concession over the K-6-7 deposit at the Jan Karski mine (Jan Karski). 

This Supreme Administrative Court decision is final, cannot be appealed and has upheld the 2016 Regional Administrative Court decision that confirms the original 2015 decision, which denied Bogdanka’s mining concession application. It has been concluded that granting a mining concession to Bogdanka would be a serious violation of the provisions of Poland’s Geological and Mining Law (2011) (GML), and would be contrary to the rule of law as embodied in the Polish constitution. 

In a second ruling, the Supreme Administrative Court has upheld the 2016 Regional Administrative Court decision that obliged the MoE to approve Prairie Mining Limited’s (Prairie) submitted Addendum No. 3 for the K-6-7 deposit. Addendum No. 3 is a detailed resource estimate for the K-6-7 deposit according to Polish geological reporting standards and is based on the results of Prairie’s exploration programme at the deposit. This complaint was bought against the MoE by Prairie in 2015. 

The Court’s ruling will now be passed back to the MoE, and the MoE is obliged to promptly reassess the original decision taking into account the court’s verdict i.e., to issue a positive decision approving Addendum No. 3. The significance of this Supreme Administrative Court decision is that Bogdanka’s 2018 application for a mining concession over K-6-7 is now entirely inadmissible under Polish law (Bogdanka’s application was suspended following an injunction awarded in Prairie’s favour and requires the MoE to reject Bogdanka’s mining concession application).  

 The Supreme Administrative Court’s rulings reaffirm, beyond doubt, that Bogdanka’s claims over K-6-7 are without merit and inadmissible. The Board notes that Bogdanka’s claims have been consistently and vigorously rejected by the Polish courts in multiple rulings. Furthermore, the Court’s decision obliging the MoE to approve Addendum No. 3 demonstrates that the MoE has acted illegally and failed to correctly implement Poland’s own mining laws.  

Debiensko – update on concession amendment application

In December 2016, following the acquisition of the Debiensko hard coking coal mine (Debiensko), Prairie applied to the MoE to amend the 50 year Debiensko mining concession.  

The purpose of the concession amendment was to extend the time stipulated in the mining concession for first production of coal from 2018 to 2025. Prairie has now received a final 'second instance' decision from the MoE that has denied the Company’s amendment application. Not meeting the production timeframe stipulated in the concession does not automatically infringe on the validity and expiry date of the Debiensko mining concession, which is June 2058. Prairie also holds a valid environmental consent decision enabling mine construction and continues to have valid tenure and ownership of land at Debiensko. However, the concession authority now has the right to request the concession holder to remove any infringements related to non-compliance with the conditions of the mining concession and determine a reasonable date for removal of the infringements. In accordance with Polish law, the concession authority is required to provide an achievable and reasonable timeframe to remedy any non-compliance taking into account the nature of the non-compliance.

Nevertheless, the second instance decision may result in the commencement of proceedings by the MoE to limit or withdraw the Debiensko concession.  



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