‘Extra safety measures’ taken at damaged Amynteo mine

Additional safety measures were taken at the Amynteo coal mine, close to Florina northern Greece, for a slant with a 1:6 ratio compared to the usual slant ratio of no more than 1:4 created at other mines, a PPC official has told energypress following a landslide that devastated the mine, the nearby village of Anargyroi and PPC’s mining equipment.

The measures taken were obviously insufficient judging by the scale of the destruction, whose effects include the necessary expropriation of Anargyroi, a village in the area, according to energy minister Giorgos Stathakis.

The Amynteo mine runs 200 meters deep, while the tunnel from the surface to the coal seam ran for 1,200 meters rather than 800 meters as is the case at other PPC mines, the official explained.

The landslide was caused by an enormous tectonic fault that runs parallel to the provincial road through the Anargyroi community, from the southwest to northeast, and has a length that can reach even ten kilometers, experts have noted.

The first signs of movement emerged on May 24 and began gaining speed to increase from a rate of 200 mm per day to 600 mm per day. An earth mass weighing roughly 80 million tons ended up shifting many meters in the landslide.

According to the head of Genop, PPC’s main union, Giorgos Adamidis, the problem is also linked to interventions made by archaeological authorities. This delayed the delivery of a mining license, which would have helped decongest the mine’s upper level, he noted.

The landslide has caused multiple problems for PPC, ranging from its ability to keep perform lignite mining operations in the area to a prospective unit sale list that must be prepared by the dominant electricity producer and supplier as a bailout requirement. This list, which needs to represent 40 percent of PPC’s lignite-based capacity, is expected by the end of this month but its delivery will most likely be impacted by the damage in Amynteo.

PPC’s two lignite-fired power stations at Amynteos, whose capacity totals 600 MW, will be sidelined for as long as the mine remains closed. The mine supplies both these power stations.