Court Denies Mining License to Eesti Energia ({{commentsTotal}})

Tallinn Administrative Court overturned a Environmental Ministry decision to hand a mining license to state-owned Eesti Energia to begin operations at the Uus-Kiviõli mining site.

Rival mining company Viru Keemia Grupp's (VKG) board member Jaanus Purga told ERR radio on Tuesday that the court disagreed with the ministry's position that the current license holder should be first in line for any other license that becomes available.

Purga said Eesti Energia has a vast number of similar licenses and they are "expiring all the time." If Energia were favored, that would diminish VKG's chances of increasing their mining operations. He said the court agrees with VKG that shale oil mining in Estonia should become more open.

Head of Eesti Energia's mining subsidiary Eesti Energia Kaevandused AS, Veljo Aleksandrov, said they have pursued the license to mine the Uus-Kiviõli site since 2005 and could continue legal battles for another ten years.

Estimates put the amount of shale oil that could be produced from reserves at Uus-Kiviõli at 200 million tons.

Eesti Energia operates two mines with a annual output of around 15 million tons of shale oil. VKG's one mine produces three million tons. The ministry has set a 20-million-ton annual limit in the country.