New mining bill could restore 300 jobs ({{commentsTotal}})

Mining of oil shale
Mining of oil shale Source: Photo: Pärnu Postimees / Scanpix

Viru Keemia Grupp (VKG), the largest private mining and energy giant in Estonia, said it will restore 300 jobs it cut this year if a bill on mining quotas is passed.

The bill in question, proposed by the Parliament's Environment Committee, would allow companies to use up mining quotas left untouched since 2009. Currently Eesti Energia, the state-owned competitor of VKG, has been granted the vast majority of the 20-million tons of oil shale annual mining rights, although it leaves much of that unmined. VKG, which has a much smaller share of the annual quota, could then be allowed to mine the untouched oil shale rock.

Between 2009-2014 around 24 million tons of the rock has been left unmined.

VKG said in January it will lay off more than 200 people due to the low price of oil and high price of oil shale rock. VKG mines oil shale rock itself, but buys a great deal from Eesti Energia.

VKG chairman Priit Rohumaa told Postimees it can open one shale oil plant in a month and a second plant in three to five months if his company is allowed to mine more oil shale rock.

Editor: J.M. Laats