Industry minister says decision on coal-mining limits should be made by end of next year

A decision of whether to lift the government-imposed limits on coal mining in north Bohemia should be made by the end of 2015, according to Industry and Trade Minister Jan Mládek. The minister said he himself would be in favour of holding a referendum on the matter ahead of a government decision by said this would have to be approved by all parties of the coalition government. Environmental activists have welcomed the fact that the government is not taking a decision on the matter immediately and is ready to consider the views of the locals. The mining limits were imposed in the early 1990s to protect villages in the north from industrial expansion and have frequently come under attack from politicians and industry leaders who argue that at a time of growing unemployment jobs should be a top priority.