In 2022, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) was requested to develop a study analysing the local geological and mining conditions in Albania and Serbia and to develop technical, principle-based guidelines for designing and implementing a programme for an efficient, safe, and environmentally conscious mine closure in those countries.

This document summarizes the draft of the study to allow the members of the Group of Experts on Coal Mine Methane and Just Transition to familiarize themselves with its content and provide their feedback during the eighteenth session of the Group of Experts on Coal Mine Methane and Just Transition. This feedback will be incorporated in the final version of the study.

The study describes the general problems related to mine closure, and assesses the presence and the scale of each of them in Albania and Serbia. In that context, the focus is given to groundwater and surface water, gas hazards (mainly methane and carbon dioxide), underground coal fires, subsidence, chemical pollutants, and fires in waste dumps.

The document also evaluates the potential to repurpose mined lands in Albania and Serbia for future development, analysing in particular the possibility to utilize the land for green energy generation. To evaluate the feasibility of various options, the study applies the premises of the scenarios developed under a project developed by the Research Fund for Coal and Steel (RFCS), namely POTENTIALS and uses it as a basis for its analysis.

The above-mentioned RFCS-funded project assesses synergistic potentials of the end-of-lifecycle coal mines and coal-fired power plants, analysing the situation from a broad perspective that includes the closely related neighbouring industries and the local just transition plans.

Note by the Secretariat. Geneva, 20-21 March 2023

The UNITED NATIONS ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL highlights the premises of the scenarios developed under POTENTIALS

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