The Estonian Supreme Court on Tuesday annulled the extraction permit granted to state-owned energy company Eesti Energia for the Uus-Kiviõli mining area in an ongoing dispute datin back to March 2014.
The Administrative Law Chamber of the Supreme Court said on Tuesday that the Earth's Crust Act did not allow for the issuing of a new mining permit in a capacity exceeding the annual volume the permit holder was permitted to mine; it was at odds with the law as well as with the goals of the oil shale development plan.
At the end of 2004, VKG Kaevandused and Merko Kaevandused and
VKG Kaevandused, Merko Kaevandused and later Eesti Energia-owned Enefit Kaevandused AS, in late 2004 and early 2005, respectively, sought a mining permit for the Uus-Kiviõli area.
In 2008, the Earth's Crust Act was changed and the annual oil shale mining volume was limited to 20 million tons. In 2009, the Ministry of the Environment determined an annual oil shale mining rate for each company — allotting 75 percent to Enefit, 14 to VKG, 10 percent for Kiviõli Keemiatööstuse OÜ and one percent to AS Kunda Nordic Tsement.
On Oct. 7, 2011, the Ministry of the Environment issued a mining license for the Uus-Kiviõli prospecting area to Eesti Energia Mines. According to the license, the company was entitled to mine 4.2 million tons of oil shale annually from the Uus-Kiviõli prospecting area.
The Uus-Kiviõli mining area contains nearly 208 million tons of oil shale. The mining license had been issued to Eesti Energia for a 25-year period.
The Administrative Law Chamber stated on Tuesday that should the ministry discuss again Enefit's request, they must take EU competition law into account.
Editor: Aili Vahtla