Amynteo damage ‘absorbable, smaller than initially thought’

The damage caused to main power utility PPC’s Amynteo coal mine, close to Florina, northern Greece, by a landslide on Saturday is severe but manageable, while the development was prompted by the activation of a second tectonic fault not detected by the utility’s technical team, the utility chief Manolis Panagiotakis clarified today.

“We were shocked by the incident but will absorb it,” noted Panagiotakis, who was speaking at an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting staged at Larco, the troubled state-controlled general mining and nickel producer.

The extent of the damage at the Amynteo coal mine would be known in about two weeks and should be smaller than claims made by local media immediately following the incident.

PPC will cover half the cost of the necessary relocation of the nearby village Anargyroi, while contractors involved in the project’s mining activity are already providing emergency needs for locals, according to Panagiotakis.

The cost of the damage caused by the landslide will greatly depend on whether any exisiting mining equipment can be salvaged as well as by PPC’s ability to continue mining at part of the lignite deposit, the utility chief noted.

Panagiotakis explained that a sufficient part of the mine’s lignite deposit was not affected, meaning that the Amynteo telethermal facilities could continued operating next winter.

Prior to the landslide’s devastation, the Amynteo lignite-fired power stations were estimated to have 17,000 hours of life remaining.

Panagiotakis said PPC’s team of 600 employees working at the mine would be transfered to other projects.

As for the Larco meeting, shareholders endorsed a new electricity supply tariff agreement reached with PPC. As was pointed out by Panagiotakis, Larco has continued to struggle covering its electricity bills, but added that the new agreement should help.

Larco, a loss-incurring enterprise that stands as the country’s second-biggest electricity consumer, currently owes PPC an amount estimated at 210 million euros. As part of thew new agreement, Larco will need to cover 37 million euros by late-2019 or early 2020.

PPC has demanded a business plan from Larco, which will be used to design the payback schedule for the remainder of the debt owed by the nickel producer to the utility.