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European Commission - Press release

State aid: Commission approves Slovenian aid towards the closure of the Trbovlje Hrastnik coal mine

Brussels, 29 June 2011 - The European Commission has approved under EU state aid rules Slovenia's plan to grant financial support towards the closure of the Trbovlje Hrastnik coal mine located in the central region of Zasavska.

The Commission found the plan to be in line with the December 2010 Council Decision 2010/787/EU on state aid to facilitate the closure of uncompetitive hard coal mines (see PRES/10/344 and IP/10/984 ).

The Slovenian plan involves financing towards a social programme to re-qualify workers and help them find a new job or create their own as well as to co-finance the pensioning of those ones reaching retirement age. The Trbovlje Hrastnik is the only coal production unit in Slovenia. Its gradual closure started in 2000. Over the closure period, the company will have an average of 260 workers engaged in production. According to the plan, the mine will be closed by the end of 2012. The aid can, nevertheless, be granted until the end of 2015.

The support that Slovenia plans to grant Trbovlje Hrastnik is also destined to cover costs linked with the rehabilitation of the site, including removing waste water from the mine and ensuring the safety underground.

The mine is owned by Rudnik Trbovlje Hrastnik Ltd, itself fully-owned by the Slovenian State.

EU Member States agreed in December to extend until 2018 a special state aid regime for the hard coal sector that provides for the possibility to grant support for the closure of uncompetitive mines. The new regime aims to facilitate the transition to the general state aid rules applicable to all sectors that do not allow operating aid.

Slovenia's Programme of Gradual Closure of Trbovlje Hrastnik Mine Phase III (2010-2014) succeeds previous programmes started in 2000.

Publication of the decision

The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number N 175 in the State Aid Register on the DG Competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved. New publications of state aid decisions on the internet and in the Official Journal are listed in the State Aid Weekly e-News.

Contacts :

Amelia Torres (+32 2 295 46 29)

Maria Madrid (+32 2 295 45 30)

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