Potential effects of the coal mine exploitation in the Sawin deposit

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The planned exploitation of the Sawin deposit in Poland will potentially have a severe negative impact on all wetland ecosystems in the area, states expert opinion report summary.

Wetlands International – European Association has, together with Centrum Ochrony Mokradel (Wetlands Conservation Centre) and EURONATUR, commissioned an expert opinion on the possible impacts of a new bituminous coal mine to be developed in the environmentally precious Polesie region of SE Poland. The report regards groundwater and assesses the influence of the potential mining on wetland ecosystems in the area.

On 29 December 2014, the Minister of the Environment issued a concession no 34/2014/p for prospecting the Sawin bituminous coal deposit, which is located within the Lublin Coal Basin and has an area of 227.7 km2. Under this concession, four boreholes are planned to be drilled to the depth of 750 metres, borehole and laboratory tests are to be carried out, and geological documentation is to be prepared.

The report summary concludes that the planned exploitation of the Sawin deposit will have a potentially severe negative impact on all wetland ecosystems in the area. The most influential threat seems to be the formation of the cone of depression expanding to the Cretaceous and surface waters through cracks in rocks, which will result in a large-scale water table drawdown. Additionally, ongoing subsidence will lead to changing and unstable hydrological conditions on the surface. Both can be terminal to the water-dependent ecosystems and associated species in the area: alkaline fens of Bagno Bubnów and Bagno Staw, covering the area of ca. 1500 ha, being breeding area for 3-4% world population of globally threatened aquatic warbler (Acrocephalus paludicola), as well as viable populations of several red-listed plant species, including Pedicularis sceptrum-carolinum, Betula humilis and 13 species of orchids. Destruction of mires will also lead to the loss of their ecosystem services, one of the most important being the carbon sequestration in peatlands.

Read the full summary report by downloading it below.

To learn more about the work of Centrum Ochrony Mokradel, visit their website here

Impact of the planned coal mine exploiting the Sawin deposit


Header image: Bagno Bubnów @ Andrzej Różycki, LTO