Polish coal miner Jastrzebska Spólka Weglowa SA, or JSW, is considering a takeover of Prairie Mining Ltd., which has been developing the Jan Karski and Debiensko coking coal mines in Poland, Reuters reported Sept. 6, citing two anonymous sources.
The two companies have been in cooperation talks on the development of coal projects in the country, but JSW wants control of the Australian firm.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and the country's energy ministry provisionally approved the proposal, one of the sources said.
A JSW spokeswoman declined to comment on the development, but said the miner was reviewing Prairie's projects and may share more information by mid-September. Prairie also declined to comment.
Coking coal is on the European Commission's critical raw materials list, with the price of Chinese coking coal futures tripling since 2015.
"If Poland develops quickly, then we will need more steel and coking coal. In the case of JSW, it is obvious that the company is looking for more deposits," Energy Minister Krzysztof Tchorzewski said earlier in the week.
Certain foreign investors are also interested in mining Poland's coking coal.
Meanwhile, the sources noted that the Polish government is expected to reject a project by private U.K. firm Tamar Resources, which plans to mine coking coal at a Silesian site, previously operated by JSW as a thermal coal mine.
Tamar CEO George Rogers told Reuters he will continue to fight for the project, which he believes would generate at least 2,000 jobs.
Polish labor union Solidarity urged the government to hold a tender seeking an investor to revive the mine, saying it would support whoever wins.