Polish coal miner’s body found; search continues for missing

The death toll from accidents in recent days at two coal mines in southern Poland has increased to six after a miner was brought to the surface and pronounced dead, authorities said Sunday.

The miner was among 10 who went missing after an underground tremor and methane gas discharge at the Borynia-Zofiowka mine on Saturday. Six miners remain missing, and rescuers said they have found three others without saying if they were dead or alive.

Elsewhere, five workers died and seven went missing after repeated methane blasts that started Wednesday at the nearby Pniowek mine. The search for those missing was suspended Friday after new explosions late Thursday injured 10 rescue workers, some seriously.

Both mines are operated by the Jastrzebska Spolka Weglowa, JSW, in the Jastrzebie-Zdroj region, close to the Czech border.

The majority of Poland’s energy comes from coal, a proportion that is drawing criticism from the European Union and environmental groups who are concerned about CO2 emissions and meeting climate change goals. Most Polish coal mines are in the southern Silesia region. Many are characterized by the high presence of methane in the rock.

Poland has been scaling down the use of coal and recently the government announced it would end coal imports from Russia by May, part of Poland’s years-long drive to reduce its dependence on Russian energy sources and also in response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

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