Future of Paskov mine still uncertain

President Miloš Zeman has urged the OKD mining company to keep the unprofitable Paskov mine in operation until 2016. Following talks with company representatives, who earlier ruled out the possibility of keeping the mine operational without state support, Mr. Zeman said the company’s owners should use their financial reserves to reduce the social impact of the closure. He suggested that the sale of the 44,000 flats which business tycoon Zdenek Bakala acquired when he gained control of OKD in 2004 could be used to finance the mine’s operation until 2016. Mr. Bakala has come under widespread criticism for holding onto the flats and failing to deliver on his promise to sell them to their residents. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Jiří Rusnok who took part in the talks, said the government was working hard to attract a big investor to the Ostrava region in the hope of creating more jobs when the mine’s closure would expand the ranks of the unemployed.